“The Picky Eater”… every family has one. Really. Every family has one.
When a child is very particular about what he or she will eat, parents can become worried and distressed. Caregivers worry about issues like, “Will my child get enough nutrients to grow properly? Will my child reach his/her full height?”
What can a caregiver do when wondering if picky eating is just a normal stage or the sign of a bigger problem?
1) Take an honest look at the eating habits and attitudes toward food of the adults in the home.
Adults serve as the main role models for small children, especially before children start attending school. When adults eat very restricted diets or react with dramatic disgust toward unfamiliar foods, children notice! Maybe you, as a caregiver, can better model healthy eating habits and a positive curiosity toward food for your child. If you are experiencing anxiety or depression which may be affecting your eating habits, see your doctor for help in setting up a treatment plan. Taking care of yourself will allow you to be the best possibly role model for your child and their eating habits.
2) Seek the opinion of your child’s doctor.
Your child’s primary care doctor is very important in helping you address your child’s picky eating. He or she can examine your child and determine if the child is growing in height and weight appropriately for age. The doctor can also make dietary suggestions if weight gain or weight loss are occurring. Additionally, it is very important that the picky eater be medically assessed to rule out issues that can affect a child’s eating habits. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is just one example of the many issues that can affect appetite.
3) Get that dental check-up!
Dental problems like decay are painful! They may lead a child to refuse food or choose to eat only room temperature foods.
Our Occupational Therapy Team can answer your questions and provide tips or strategies about working with children who are picky eaters. They can also provide an individualized assessment to help determine if your child is picky or has an eating, feeding or swallowing problem. If you want to talk with an Occupational Therapist, please call our office at 740-369-3650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Amy Gabel, Occupational Therapist, Delaware Speech and Hearing Center
Check out our last blog: https://www.delawareshc.org/services-willis-education-center/