Occupational Therapist's comments on picky eaters

While much of the information provided in this website is very helpful, I have just one comment about your information regarding picky eaters: using distractions or bribery to get a child to eat often backfires on parents. After a while, parents will find the distractions that previously worked no longer work and you end up running a three ring circus to get the child to take just one bite. It is better to provide food in a no-pressure environment and let the child go at his/her own pace.

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Jan 04, 2010
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Pediatric OT
by: Anonymous

While I also agree with most of the information on this page, I think it is really important to emphasize gut comfort as well. If eating makes your child feel sick, all the oral input will not motivate that child to eat. So it is really important that your OT and your pediatrician keep an open dialog and think about making a referral to a pediatric GI specialist if/when needed.

I think it is also important to realize that addressing feeding takes a lot of problem solving and patience as a parent and practioner. It often requires looking at the whole body (not just the mouth)and families who are most successful often pair behavioral and sensory techniques. Don't be afraid to be creative, but be consistent, and use a lot of positive reinforcement.

It took one year to get my middle child to eat mac and cheese. We used many techniques and strategies but his favorite (and we just kept presenting) was "if you don't like it, spit it out - but see how hard you can spit it in the trash" .....feeding isn't always pretty. :)

Sep 17, 2009
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Another OT Responds To Picky Eaters
by: Anonymous

Hello everyone! I am an Occupational Therapist with three sons with Sensory Processing Disorder! Distractions with favorite shows really works for them too when learning to eat new foods! It really does depend on each child and each situation is unique! Try all techniques and do what works best for you....even if it means diving in a pool with your clothes on if your child will put one little bite in his mouth and spit it out! Believe me, I have done it and the whole family had a great laugh...wet clothes and all!

Jun 26, 2009
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picky eater
by: Anonymous

I think it depends on what type of distractions are being used.

My son is extremely difficult to feed. If the smell of the food isn't perfect he refuses to eat it. If the texture isn't perfect he turns away from it. It can take several attempts at different foods to find one that 'fits' him each day. We really struggle with this.

But i have found that if i serve his food to him while he is watching a favorite tv show he doesn't pay as much attention to all the things he can find wrong with it. His focus is on the show, so he is a bit more willing to accept what i serve. The distraction really helps us.

Jun 25, 2009
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picky eaters
by: Angie

I agree!!

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