You have tried everything to encourage your child to eat.
"Kids eat when they are hungry, right?"
Why does your child eat some things and not others?
I'm so excited to welcome, Simone Emery to Your Kids OT today. Simone is a feeding specialist and writer at Play with Food. She is a nutritionist with a Masters of Food Studies, an accredited Food Safety Supervisor and trained in the SOS Approach to Feeding. I've asked Simone to answer some frequently asked questions to help with feeding challenges in the home! Welcome Simone!
Simone, can you please tell us about your family and how you came to create your website "Play with Food"?
I started "Play with Food" as a way to help children get positive experiences with fruit and vegetables. This led to further training in feeding therapy for me to ensure my programs and writing helped parents understand the complexity of feeding children. The root causes of fussy eating vary significantly and my focus on sensory, language, variety and strategies is helpful for parents that may have heard unhelpful advice like "they will grow out of it" or "she won't starve". I have two little girls and I know the trenches of feeding kids, thinking about variety and meal planning around busy modern life.
Many children shows signs of being "fussy" at times with food. What are some "red flags" parents should look out for in knowing when their child needs help?
It is definitely always important to check that children are reaching their feeding milestones. One of the main red flags that parents report to me are having a dietary repertoire of under 20 foods, dropping entire food groups and anxiety around food.
What is the SOS approach to feeding and main principles in this approach?
SOS approach to feeding addresses the whole child, their physical, oral motor, sensory, digestive and psychological needs when it comes to feeding. It is an approach that works on increasing exposure to improve acceptance and then increase dietary repertoire / quantity. It is a life skill building therapy.
Should I hide vegetables from my "fussy eaters"?
Yes and No. Never deceive a child by being sneaky on purpose as this can breed distrust of foods you make them. They will know. But at the same time, you need to present vegetables in logical ways that increase the amount of times you can offer them. Eg. Zucchini slice for lunch, bolognese with carrot onion & celery, Carrot cup cakes. As parents we are in charge of offering and variety and nutritional range are part of what we offer.
How do parents negotiate a "fussy eater" with other siblings?
Making sure we don't single out a child is very important in reaching a family goal. A family has the goal of eating the same things, so, to achieve that goal we work on it together. Serve foods from the middle of the table so everyone has equal opportunity to learn. Make sure everyone can succeed and learn. Eating isn't a pass or fail task. There are many learns kids have to make before they may eat something new. Modelling the learning process is so important.
What support do you provide parents of "fussy eaters"?
I have a range of blog posts, recipes, videos, an eCourse and private Facebook group to help parents. I also do guest speaking, consults and Skype sessions.
Thanks so much Simone for sharing your experience and expertise! She is a wealth of knowledge and information. I love how Simone's advice is always practical and based on her professional training.
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