Hiding foods they don’t like – they will find out and will impact
their trust in you
Letting them go hungry – they will enjoy not having to eat and this will impact
even more their lack of hunger
Pressure to eat or finishing on time – it will increase anxiety and it will not make them eat faster
Not giving their preferred food - They won’t start eating other foods if you limit the amount of preferred foods
Having the idea of “good” and “bad” food – food is food and if they are only managing a few foods, this is ok for now
Understanding that eating can be a difficult process as it includes all our senses
Understanding and think about the 32 steps to eating
Managing my own anxiety, so I am better able to handle challenging situations
To try and have a curious approach about the difficulties my child is experiencing
(i.e. “I can see you find eating at the table difficult, what do you think might be happening? What can we do to support you?”)
Putting pressure on them can increase their adrenaline, which can suppress their appetite and make them less likely to eat. Try to remain calm and positive at mealtimes.
This is to help you remain as relaxed as possible and keep anxiety low
Daily routine for feeding: try to stick to consistent times each day and if needed, create a meal plan together so your child knows what to expect
Mealtime routines: prepare (i.e. “lunch will be ready in 5 minutes”). You might need to have some calming activity: wash hands together, sing song, blow bubbles, sit at the table, clean up, wash hands, finish. Consider also using stress balls, tangle toys, weight blankets, anything that calm/help your child
Avoid negative comments (avoid words like ‘no’, ‘don’t’, and
e.g. throwing, refusing, gagging. Telling a child off
or making a fuss often increases that behaviour.
Instead try a sticker chart or something fun after the meal, like a favourite book. Make sure the goals you choose for your child are achievable for them.
Do not force feed them
To 30/45 minutes and snack times to 15 /20minutes
Make sure he/she has support under their feet, behind their back and they do not slip down too far in the seat – use non-slip mats if needed under feet and bottom.
Eat together as a family. Talk about the food in a positive way – make sure the food is the focus, not the child. You might want to use table cards as a
way of having conversations during meals that are not related to food only. We know that eating at the table can be extremely difficult for some children, so try changing sits at the table to avoid overwhelming situations
As well as new or less preferred foods – consider different plates or outside of their “safe area”
Enjoy eating and exploring your food – talk about the colours, textures, shapes, smells and sounds of the food. Encourage your child to think about these things too. Children learn by watching and copying.
For anything good they do, even if this is just touching or tasting a new
food. Some children don’t like to be praised, so avoid it.
It works on a systematic desensitization hierarchy of skills/behaviours necessary for children to progress with eating various textures, and with growing at an appropriate rate for them
One step at the time, without overwhelming the them
Experience feared stimuli in a small hierarchy
Allowed to 'move away' from exposure
Goal = to maintain a competing response in the face of increasing incremental exposure
Experience feared stimuli at full exposure
Held in the exposure with scape being prevented
Goal = to have peak fear response with no undesirable
Consequence during repeated full exposures
Learning to eat new colour
Sweet potato fries new colour
Butternut squash fries same shape & colour
Steamed carrots new texture
Roasted carrots same shape & colour
Roasted b.squash new shape
Food Chaining involves gradually and systematically diversifying the foods a person will eat.
You begin with a food that is currently accepted. You then consider what can be tolerated in relation to change i.e. colour, brand, texture, shape.You then identify a new food to try based on what can be tolerated. This new food is then introduced. This then restarts the process.
Learning to eat new colour
Frozen banana slices
Snap pea crisps
Raw green beans
Freeze-dried green beans
Learning to enjoy more protien
Baked white fish
Fried white fish
- The child does not have to eat the foods presented to them
- It is about exploring food with the child
- It is about sharing an experience with the child, not to the child.
- Regularly reassure the child that they are “ok”
- It is about getting messy – wash hands at the end
- Large dry foods
- Medium dry foods
- Fine dry foods
- Wet drinks
- Sticky foods
- What is the colour?
- What size is it?
- What is the appearance?
- Is it wet or dry?
- Does it feel cold or hot?
- Does it feel bumpy or rough?
- Is it weak or strong smell?
- Is it a nice smell?
- Does it have a strong taste?
- Is it sweet or salty?
- Is it spicy?
- Does it feel loud when you chew it?
- Is it crunchy?
- Does it get soft quickly?
*Not expected to eat, it is ok to spit it out
- Any other sensation?*Smell mouthful is ok and gradually increase quantity
- Emphasise that they are not expected to eat the food!!!
- Outside of mealtimes
- To try and stick to a routine – so they know what to expect
- To use different place to practice
References or Creators Credit