Mom and OT

I think it is important to realize that eating is a family event. Even if it is for a short period, try to bring everyone to the table for a pleasurable experience (short game/activity) so there is not a lot of pressure being at the kitchen table or in a high chair.

Try letting your picky eater make a snack for others in the family. Take the pressure off of them eating. Let them help cut a banana (soft, you can use a playdoh knife) for you or another family member - or let them, measure, stir, pour koolaid (with an adults help), then you are also working on a lot of other skills as well such as math, fine motor, visual/spatial. Cooking/snack making can be such a sensory rich experience from colors, to smells. Use it to your advantage. Let them see how others have enjoyed what was made. Play food and velcro foods are also great. Make koolaid playdoh (safe to play with and eat). Melissa and Doug have a wide variety of food sets from cloth to wooden.

If you are a family of tv addicts, use the Food Network. My 9 yr old was a safe eater (familiar foods), my 6 yr old was the exact opposite (extremely picky) and my 3 yr old food allergy kid would eat a bug off the ground and is my most adventurous

eater. With limited kid friendly shows, we often watch the FN together, we talk about ingredients (look at those juicy apples, who would make a zombie cake) and pick a new recipe to try every now and again, even if we deconstruct the recipe to make it just right. They have so much fun in the kitchen, we don't always eat it but it is something to talk about and it has really increased food choices in our house.

As a practitioner I encourage you to have an open conversation with your OT, SLP, and pediatrician, and encourage them to talk to each other. Many times gut comfort can also play a big role with eating, make sure there are no medical issues impacting feeding. If eating makes you sick (hurts to swallow, diarrhea/constipation, vomiting, reflux) or if your child is not ever aware of hunger/need to eat that is an important conversation to have with your team. Would you eat that food if you knew it would make you feel gross? Examining medical, SI, and behavioral techniques can be very effective. Most of all, be an advocate for your child and be patient. Feeding takes time, and it is messy business. Be respectful of your child and introduce all your SI techniques to desensitize with love. If as a parent you are starting to feel frustrated and overwhelmed, try the activity another day.

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