If you work as a feeding therapist in a pediatric therapy setting, you’ve probably heard parents express worry over their child’s picky eating. When a child has strong sensory preferences and a narrow diet, it’s easy for parents to recognize their child’s eating as a source of concern. Parents want to see their children thrive, and when a child doesn’t seem to enjoy eating, it can be a tremendous source of worry.
Where do we start our work with families who come to us wanting us to “fix” their picky eater? This is a tricky question, especially when we know that many children with strong sensory preferences have very little interest in changing or expanding their diets.
It’s time for us, as professionals, to change the way we think about supporting children who do not enjoy eating. It is not our job to get children to eat. We need to fully believe that as we approach our work.
However, it is our job to get to know children as individuals and learn about their individual differences. We can play a pivotal role in helping children feel a strong sense of safety and security at mealtimes. We can help eliminate pressure and begin to identify the “just right” opportunities that will give children room to tap into their own internal motivation. We can provide support for parents and offer them guidance as they seek to find ways to establish mealtime peace as they feed their families.
When we, as professionals fully believe that it’s not our job to get children to eat, it opens the door to a new way of thinking about supporting children who might have anxiety surrounding mealtimes.
Come learn with us on Tuesday, December 6 as we discuss this new way of working with children and families. During this two-hour class we will talk about how our first meetings with families can set the stage for feeding therapy that prioritizes safety and mealtime peace.
Assessment of Picky Eaters
December 6th, 2023
with Karen Dilfer, OTR/L