Picky Eaters: Normal Or Pathological?

The toddler period presents huge changes in development in many areas. Feeding in particular presents several challenges for parents. The once eager eater who opened his mouth for everything you presented on the spoon is now much more likely to reject foods and have a hard time sitting still for meals.

Toddlers do not grow at the same rapid pace that infants grow and their food intake drops off significantly. Toddlers by definition are often on the move. They are busy exploring their world and testing limits with their parents.

They frequently become skeptical of new foods and reject foods that they formerly seemed to enjoy. They may love something one day and reject it the next. And I?m describing typical toddlers! If your toddler has underlying sensory issues, food allergies, or oral-motor difficulties, the challenges will be much more complex.

Signs you may need intervention

While feeding the typical toddler can be tricky, feeding some children can be greatly overwhelming. For most toddlers, employing the strategies described below will address many common feeding challenges. For others, however, more intensive intervention may be required. You may want to consider exploring evaluation and treatment options if your child exhibits the following:

1. is not gaining weight, is losing weight, or is not holding steady on their own growth curve
2. shows signs of sensory issues, including intolerance of certain textures, sensitivity to sounds, light, or other stimuli
3. oral-motor problems involving the jaw, tongue, cheeks and/or swallow mechanisms
4. history or symptoms of severe food allergies
5. history or symptoms of gastrointestinal problems
6. history of feeding tube use

Strategies for dealing with the typical picky eater

While typical picky eaters may not require direct treatment or intervention, often their parents need some guidance and/or coaching to help them develop effective feeding strategies.

One of the most important strategies for dealing with typical picky eaters is to apply Ellyn Satters division of responsibility. In short, Satter states that parents are responsible for the what, when, and where of feeding toddlers, while toddlers are responsible for whether or not they will eat and how much they will eat from what they are offered from their parents. Her book, Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, discusses this model in detail.

Childrens meal and snack times should be structured and occur at predictable times. While the temptation is to offer your children food that you know (or at least hope!) they will like, it is important to keep offering a variety of foods.

Build on and expand from what they do usually eat and like, but keep adding to your offerings. It?s also important for parents to sit and eat with their children rather than to just serve them separately. Value family meals and implement family-style service, including at least one item that your child usually likes.

Children usually need multiple exposures to a food before they will eat it. It?s important to understand that there is a progression of food acceptance, ranging from just seeing it on the table all the way up to eventually putting it in their mouths and swallowing. It?s also important to look at your child?s nutritional intake over the course of a week or so and not just one meal. Have patience and respect your child?s individual pace as they grow to become a successful eater.

Common mistakes to avoid

Avoid food handouts in between scheduled meals and snacks. This will undermine your efforts to have your children come to the table hungry and ready to eat.

Avoid being a short order cook and catering to your child?s limited menu. While your motivation may be to help ensure that your child will eat something, what often happens is that your child will accept fewer and fewer foods.

Avoid nagging or pressuring your child about eating. This can create an unnecessary power struggle over food and eating and lead to poor eating behaviors.

Related Post

Review Details on The Therapeutic Boarding Schools... Parents can also send their children who have OCD or ADHD problems in therapeutic boarding schools, which are offering different types of therapies fo...
Nannies in Demand Los Angeles is one of the biggest vacation and tourist hotspots in the United States. It is also packed with business travelers and permanent resident...
Safe Toddler Swing Set Before you decide to go out and get your toddler swing set, the following safety tips might be helpful. A child under 3 years old should be put in a t...
Tips To Finding The Perfect Baby Care Center One of the hardest decisions that a new mother must make is which baby care center to use for her child when it is time for her to return to work. ...
International Adoption Agencies In Texas There are a number of international adoption agencies in Texas but how do you go about finding an adoption agency to work with if you are looking into...
4 Tips to Get Your Teenager to do Chores Getting your teenagers tо do chores саn seem almost impossible, especially іn thе summer when they аrе less supervised аnd less structured. We hear th...
How To Staying Connected to Your Teen "We need tо rethink thе old metaphor оf separating frоm our teens аnd replace іt with thе concept оf extension. Thаt is, during adolescence, teenagers...
Parenthood Involves Specific Skills And Unique Cha... There is a good example of this, which has to do with everyone having a unique personality, with both positive and negative points. Then all of tha...
How To Bully – Proof Your Child The first thing you can do to ?bully-proof? your child is to become informed. Be a Detective: Here are some signs that your child might be a victim o...
Mothers Day Gifts That Break From The Ordinary Its not hard to come up with ideas for Mothers Day gifts. You do it every year--bath products, photo frames, perfume, lotions, and soaps. Since youve ...