If you’re a parent struggling to get your child to eat nutritious meals, you’re not alone. Many kids go through phases of being picky eaters, but it’s important to instill healthy eating habits early on. This ensures that your children will grow up strong and healthy. Although pizza, ice cream, and chocolates are loved by the majority of children, as a parent, you cannot allow your kids to eat those foods regularly. This is when busy parents get puzzled! They often wonder what they should do to make their children eat healthy food with ease and make mealtime less chaotic.
Here’s come Feeding therapy to the rescue. This is a process that uses different strategies to teach children healthy eating habits. It is usually done by occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dieticians, and nutritionists who specialize in pediatric feeding therapy.
What Is Feeding Therapy?
Feeding therapy, in its simplest form, is offered by trained occupational or speech therapists who help children learn how to eat or eat better. During a feeding therapy session, your child will learn new eating techniques and general guidelines about healthy eating. Feeding therapy for children typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes and can be done once a week, once a month, or every few months.
So, What Are Some Of The Feeding Therapy Techniques That Parents Can Incorporate At Home?
Get Permission- One effective technique in feeding therapy is the “Get Permission” strategy. This emphasizes building a trustworthy and beneficial feeding relationship between parents and their children. The motif is simple and this is to set attainable goals and go at your child’s pace. For instance, your therapist might suggest your child first looks at the food before gradually introducing stages like touching, smelling, tasting, and then eating it. This process focuses on proceeding further after getting permission from the child.
Behavioral Strategy- Another technique is the behavioral strategy. This technique encourages children to try new foods. Here therapists may reward the child with a sticker or toy for each successful attempt at a new cuisine, or offer more time with an electronic device in exchange for another bite. Parents can definitely try this at home. However, the benefits of these rewards should be gradually reduced over time.
Set A Calm Atmosphere- It is important to reduce distractions like loud noises and bright lights to create a calm and stress-free environment for children with feeding issues. It’s also helpful to present unfamiliar or disliked foods frequently. You can start by including a new or unfavorite item, along with two other foods that your child already regularly consumes, at each meal to help them get over their fear.
Promote Self-Feeding– Encouraging self-feeding can also be beneficial. It gives your child control over what and how much they eat. This resultantly promotes independent self-feeding and helps develop fine motor skills. Parents can offer the right utensils, such as forks or spoons, and encourage their children to feed themselves as much as possible.
Taking Help From Experts
If you’re having trouble handling your child’s feeding issues at home, don’t be afraid to ask for more help.
A speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist can offer the best advice on how to make mealtimes more successful and assist you in devising a plan to address your child’s unique needs.
Feeding therapy for infants or toddlers or growing children is highly effective. However, before incorporating any such technique, it is recommended to consult a feeding specialist for babies or a speech-language pathologist first.
Hope AMC has the world’s most competent feeding therapists, dedicated to helping children with all types of feeding and swallowing disorders.
Visit our official site to learn about our therapies! Or, directly book a consultation now!