I think we can all hear the voice in our head of a mother shouting, "Don't play with your food!" Well, there can be a very good reason to play with your food. Picky eaters are very common. I'm sure that many of you are thinking of your own children right now. However, there are some children that are extremely picky eaters. They will only eat apple sauce or flavored yogurt. Don't even think about putting a chicken nugget in front of them. Rice? No way. Picky eating and food aversions cause a lot of anxiety for parents, as they want nothing more than their children to thrive and grow. It can be purely disheartening when children refuse to eat or try new foods. I am not a pediatric feeding specialist, but I would like to share some tips on how to introduce new foods to children that are picky eaters. If your child has difficulty with the swallowing, oral manipulation of food, coughing or choking, etc., please consult your physician and seek the help of a pediatric feeding specialist.
Play with your food.
We cannot expect a child to put something in their mouth when they are scared to even touch it with their hands. Set aside 15 minutes to play and learn with your child about new foods. Let them feel the different textures, shapes, and sizes. This helps them to be introduced to new foods in a safe and stress-free environment. There should not be any stress during this time, because they are not required to eat any of it. Play, play, play :)
How do we play with food?
Slice cucumbers, use small cookie cutters to cut out different shapes, cut bread into little squares. You can then spend 15 minutes stacking, building, and creating pictures with your food. See how high you can make a tower, sort items by shape and size, use child safe cutlery and let them cut/pull/and smash the food. The possibilities are endless.
Always Respond Positively
Don't say "Oh, ewww" or "You don't like that, do you?" when your child makes a disgusted face or spits out a new food. Instead try something like, "Wow! That was a new taste!"
I also wanted to share one of my favorite baby/child items. It has become my go-to when giving gifts to friends with children. The ezpz mat. Not only are they adorable to parents, they are attractive to children as well. The best part is that they stick to almost any flat surface and cannot be thrown on the floor! For regular and picky eaters alike, this product is amazing. I cannot rave enough about this mat. They have different sizes and shapes (divided plates, bowls, crating mats, etc.). Hop on over to ezpzfun.com to look at all of their products.
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