A recent session held in late March in The Parent Room introduced parents and carers to ‘Strategies for Fussy Eating’. This session looked at a range of things including sensory processing, sensitivity, senses, autism, oral skills and gave families helpful strategies when it came to mealtimes.
There may be a number of reasons children refuse to eat or limit their intake. Behavioural reasons in the child or the parent are not the only reason for meal time challenges. Medical needs and physical skills should also be checked too.
If you or your child need help with meal time, check out some of our helpful meal time tips:
- Have regular routines with meals, with distractions limited or removed
- Offer a variety of foods but don’t bust the budget
- Don’t offer the exact same food for every meal – work on variety so that the child’s food range does not narrow further
- Introduce new foods gradually. Think about new foods that are similar to ones the child already eats so they are not too challenging
- Model ways to try new foods including a tongue test, a sniff, a taste and remove (spit out) – this means that the child is not trapped with a mouthful of food they can’t manage
- Use positive language rather than negative labelling e.g. “that’s a big flavour for you!”, “oh, you are still learning about the taste”, “that felt surprising in your mouth”
- Aim to teach the child to identify him or herself as someone who tries things (food included) rather than focusing on eating
- Enjoy other activities with your child, not just mealtime
- If every meal is a battleground, get someone involved to help you