Is mealtime a food battle?
Do you find yourself bribing your child to eat?
Can you count the foods your child eats on two hands?
Are you becoming a short order cook at meals?
Do you worry about your child’s overall nutrition and growth?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are likely living with a picky eater or problem feeder.
At some point, most parents will experience some type of picky eating behavior with their children. If your child is a toddler, expect to hit a stage where something will be accepted one day and rejected the next. It’s common for toddlers to start expressing control at this stage. Older kids can go through a food jag where they overindulge in a food and later don’t want anything to do with it.
Picky eating can often be shown to be more complex than just a food jag and toddler stage. Children with picky eating can have sensory or oral motor challenges that need to be addressed if they have strong reactions to tastes, smells, and textures of food.
When dealing with all children who are picky eaters, how we respond to this behavior will certainly impact the feeding relationship and can either exasperate their picky behavior, making it worse, or remedy it by allowing the child to feel safe exploring foods. Katharine and Sarah jointly have over 40 years of experience working with children and feeding. Katharine has received training in the SOS approach to feeding, developed by Dr. Kay Toomey, the SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory). She uses this approach along with Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in her work with families regarding feeding. Sarah has received additional training at the Ellyn Satter Institute and has attended training by Dr. Kay Toomey.
At NW Pediatric and Family Nutrition, we evaluate the potential cause of the picky behavior and assess if additional evaluations would be beneficial if oral motor challenges or delays are a possibility. Most of the time with children 7 and younger we work with parents on their feeding relationship, especially when their toddler has not grown out of their control stage of picky behavior. Older children can benefit from feeding therapy where assignments and daily food challenges are involved, especially if ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) is suspected. Treatment will be dependent on the situation and the child. Schedule your free 15-minute phone consult to ask your questions or book your Initial Nutrition Consult now to get started.