Toddlers are picky little people! Some picky-ness is normal, but some toddlers actually cross a line into problem feeding territory. This can be particularly scary and frustrating for parents. Here’s a list to help you decide if your child is just a picky eater, or if problem feeding needs to be addressed by a therapist.
- Have at least 15-20 different foods that they will eat
- Tolerate new foods on their plate and may be able to touch the new food
- May be able to taste new foods
- Eat different textures of foods
- Eat foods similar to favorite foods – for example, will eat many different brands of chicken nuggets
- Have less than 15-20 foods that they will eat
- Will have intense tantrums or become panicked at the sight of new foods
- May gag or vomit at the sight, smell, or taste of new foods
- Will only eat certain types/brands of foods or foods prepared a specific way
- Refuse large categories of foods – food groups, textures, etc.
If you are concerned about your child’s feeding habits and think your child might be a problem feeder – please discuss this with your EI. If you already have Speech Therapy or Occupational Therapy involved, please discuss this with your OT or SLP as well – they can help!
Veggies seem to be particularly difficult for many children (and adults) to get enough of! If you are concerned that your child is not getting enough vegetables, try hiding (shh!) the veggies in something your child already likes. A quick search on Pinterest of “hide veggies” will yield hundreds of recipes. Smoothies, popsicles, pasta sauce, pancakes, cookies! Many things your child likes may be able to have veggies added – and they will never know!
Continue to offer new foods. Some children need to see new foods many times before they are comfortable touching it or taking a taste. Often, toddlers may be prone to throw foods that they don’t want to eat or don’t want to have on their plate or tray. Try showing your child the “no thank you napkin.” Just place a napkin beside or above your child’s plate. If they don’t want the food, they can place it on the “no thank you napkin” rather than throwing.
It can be really frustrating if your child is a picky or problem feeder. It’s deeply-rooted in us that we must make sure our children have enough to eat! This is a good and right instinct! Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your EI can help you connect with a Speech or Occupational Therapist that can help!
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