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As a mother to two special needs kids with feeding disorders, I have learned a lot of ways to help my kids eat more of a variety of foods. Sometimes the ways are tiny and small, but they do work, and so I thought I would share them with you!
Whether you have a child who is a picky eater or a child who has a feeding disorder of sorts, these tips will help you help your child eat more food!
5 Steps to Help Your Child Eat More Food:
1. Give your child less food.
I know, I know, this sounds counter-active. If I want to help my kids eat more food, why would I give them less food? What I mean here is give your child less food initially on his plate, and then add more.
My son would get overwhelmed by seeing 3 different foods and amounts on his plate all at once. He would outright refuse to eat, and I think it was just too much for him. Instead, we would start with a small amount of food, and as he finished that food we would add to his plate.
This will help your child not get overwhelmed as much with food and hopefully end up eating more as you add more to his plate.
2. Only give one bite at a time.
Like the tip above, sometimes it’s better to only give a small amount a food at a time. Currently, with both my kids they do not get to manipulate food on their own, they only receive one bite at a time. My son gets one piece of food on his plate at a time, and my daughter gets one bite at a time by spoon.
When you want to help your child eat more food, sometimes less is more!
3. Use a variety of foods each meal and each bite.
If your child is younger, like my 13 month old daughter and still needing to be fed by spoon, then you can put a different type of food on the spoon per bite. For example, both my kids get about 3 foods per meal time. They get one bit of each and we keep continuing in that cycle.
My daughter may get a spoonful of baby food, and the next bite would be a cheerio, and then the next bite might be a piece of cheese, and then the next bite would be back to baby food. We do the same with our son, but we put each piece of food on his plate so he can feed himself.
4. Allow for sensory food play.
My son used to literally be afraid of food. It took a lot of sensory play to get him used to being in the same room as food, touching food, and finally licking, biting, and chewing food. It’s a process, but allowing for sensory play with food introduces new foods in a fun way!
Set apart a time of day for playing with food. For example, maybe mid-afternoon you can sit down and work on strawberries with your child. You can cut them into pieces and have fun smooshing them, paining with them, and playing with them. Make it fun, and all about the senses!
5. Limit snack times
I’ve had to learn the hard way that limiting snacking and snack times makes my kids more hungry for mealtimes. It’s hard when they don’t eat a lot at meals and want a snack, but they learn fast that mealtimes are the times they need to eat, not snack times.
Looking for more tips like these? Check out my post: Tips for Children With Feeding Disorders.
Does your child have trouble eating? Do you think these tips are do-able for your family? What things do YOU do to help your child eat more?