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Messy eaters

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How can I help my dd(8) not be a super messy eater? She eats cereal and there's a mess all around her bowl when she's done. I fix rice with dinner and she gets it everywhere. I kind of understand about crumbs from sandwiches, because she is on a GF diet and GF bread is unavoidably crumbly. But does it have to be all over her chair and floor when she is done?:banghead: I have been trying and trying to help her not be so messy, but nothing seems to work. Ds(3) eats much neater than she does, so I know it's possible for an 8yo to eat better than she does, I just don't know how to get her to that point.


Any ideas or suggestions? I do make her clean up her mess, but that doesn't do anything to make it less of a mess.

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Dd has a friend who's messy--it's rather endearing, actually!


Is she taking small enough bites? Eating too fast? How is her dexterity--and eye-hand coordination? Is she spatially aware in general, or is it a problem elsewhere?


Half the problem is speed, the other half is getting the food to the mouth, IME.

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Look at this problem the same as legible handwriting. Is she sitting at an appropriate sized chair and table height? Can you modify to give her more stability? Is her chair close to the table? Is the plate flat? Try a shallow bowl to help her scoop the food on the spoon. Is the spoon handle too narrow? Can you give her a spoon with a larger handle? Think fat pencil versus skinny pencil. Does she lean forward over the table so spills go back on plate? Is she overloading her spoon?

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Between my three eaters, and the countless children I have had at my home for meal times, these are some factors I've noticed involved in messy eating.


Chair not appropriate distance from the table.

Not sitting up properly.

Not eating over the plate.

Chewing with the mouth open.

Taking bites too big or overloading the utensil.

Mishandling the utensils.

Bad grip on the utensils.

Bouncing and fidgeting.

Not paying attention.


We had one child visit that holds her utensil too loosely. She dropped her fork about 7 times during lunch.


My oldest has an issue with spoons for the longest time. He kept tipping the spoon backward, because his chin was tipped downward and all of his soup or cereal would pour out of the spoon, into the bowl or more frequently on the table.


Observe your daughter eating so you can find out where the problem is. Then mention your observations. Help work with her. She may not be aware of something that she is doing that is contributing to the mess.

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My 7 yr ols is a very messy eater. He is also super clumsy. He trips on thin air. He's been evaluated by an OT and is diagnosed with a "Coordination Dysfunction." Still makes me giggle, but it is hard on ds. He's often very frustrated because he has trouble doing what he tries to do.


I keep that in mind so I don't get frustrated as well.

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