You have a picky eater and it is causing stress for your whole family.
Parents who come into our Bondi Junction clinic clinic will often tell our Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists that what really worries them is their child’s nutritional intake. They worry that their child aren’t getting enough calories. They are concerned that they aren’t getting the minimum daily amounts of vitamins and minerals. Let’s look at Picky Eater Tip #1. It is not about the vegetables.
When is comes to helping your picky eater become more adventurous, in the beginning we need to set aside concerns about nutritional intake. Unless your child has significant medical issues, we need to address the learned behaviours that may have caused picky eating.
What are learned behaviours for picky eaters?
These are the things that your child has learned when they try new foods. Some of the behaviours are child behaviours, and some of them are parent behaviours.
Let’s look at what our Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists in our Bondi Junction clinic have to say about learned behaviours:
The child picky eating behaviours could include:
- Choking on a baked potato and refusing to eat baked potatoes again.
- Vomiting after they had drank a strawberry smoothie and refusing to eat any smoothies in future.
- Suffering from gastroesophageal reflux and eating some food hurts
- They may have a tongue tie and can’t move some foods efficiently around their mouths
- They tried broccoli and didn’t like the taste of so they refused to eat broccoli in future.
The parent picky eating behaviours include:
- Offering other options when their child refuses to eat a meal
- Giving the child the foods they like and not exposing them to new foods
- Putting pressure on their child to eat a meal
- Having a mealtime routine that is not structured
- Allowing a lot of snacking between meals so the child isn’t hungry at mealtime
Why do we use Picky Eater Tip #1?
The picky eater’s behaviours around mealtimes can be complex and they cause stress for everyone. This tip reduces the family stress stress around meals and food starts to become more enjoyable. Decreasing everyone’s stress around eating is key to moving forward.
More picky eating tips
Picky Eating can cause stress for children, parents and the whole family. Try picky eating tip #3 at home with your child. If you are still concerned about your child’s picky eating habits, then it is best to start doing something about it now. Our ‘YukToYum’ program helps to build adventurous eaters who will try new foods. The program has 3 versions:
- Individual sessions
- Group Therapy Sessions
- Online parent Training
Individual Picky Eater Therapy Sessions
Individual sessions are great when a child first starting therapy for picky eating. It allows the therapist to understand more about the child’s eating patterns and preferences. The therapist can try different strategies to see what the child respond to best.
Group Picky Eater Therapy Sessions
Eating is a social skill and we want picky eaters to still enjoy eating with other people. The group program maintains the fun side of feeding intervention. We know that picky eaters do learn by watching their peers eat some foods. Our group picky eater program runs during the school term on a weekly basis for one hour. The sessions work on feeding as well as have breaks for social games in between. It takes time for picky eaters to introduce new foods back into their eating so this is a fun wait to keep doing therapy.
Online Parent Training
Picky eaters have usually being restricting their food choices for many years before they start therapy. It can take a long time to change their eating preferences. It isn’t feasible for all families to attend feeding sessions on an ongoing basis. That is why we developed an online parent training program. This program teaches parents how to introduce new foods and what strategies are likely to help your child expand their repertoire of foods. The program runs 4 times a year.
If you are interested in finding out more about out YukToYum program for picky eaters, call us in our Bondi Junction or Mascot clinic on (02) 80657837 or email us. We have Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists who love helping children become adventurous eaters!