Dealing With the Picky Eater in Your Life!!
Doesn’t everyone love food? We often think that everyone learns to eat automatically and just eats, until we encounter a picky eater who throws that concept out the window. A picky eater can be very challenging and also pushes us to understand their needs and solve the eating challenge. Here are some tips we have found to help with the picky eater.
Top Things You Need to Consider to Help Your Picky Eater
- Be sure to make sure there are no medical issues behind the reason for the picky eater – constipation, allergies or sensory concerns
- Determine how important increasing food tolerance for you and your child. If this is important we suggest making a list of foods that are common in your home. As you introduce these make sure to feature the food that your child is starting to show a preference for.
- Spend some time to determine what food your child does eat regularly. Are they drawn to particular types of foods, colors, textures, etc.
- Focus on tackling the issue by getting your child eating some of the highly preferred food along with introducing new foods
- Keep in mind – it may take up to 10 exposures or more to a food before some interest is shown.
- Review logical steps to introduce the food – Look, Touch, Hold, Smell, Bring close to mouth, Lick/taste, Bite a small piece, Keep in mouth (slowly increasing time – even by seconds), Chew a small piece, swallow, Chew off a bigger piece, swallow, repeat
- Provide opportunities for new food and give it a chance, if after 15-30 minutes if no interest is shown and no progress in eating that food it is ok to go back to a familiar food so that your child eats and doesn’t go hungry.
- After a short break on the new food, go back to it and try again. If you child still turns up their nose, try again next mealtime.
- Don’t give up if there is gagging, spitting out or throwing up – this happens unfortunately, go easy and take it slow and keep trying over time.
As a parent dealing with the picky eater that could be due to sensory issues or other issue we encourage you to be patience and consistent
This is something that the Essence of Communications staff can help guide you through and also provide specific sessions for this issue.