A Common Scenario- You see your child comes to the dinner table and refuses to eat. You, with all your patience, try every time to convince your little rebel to eat the food but again, no use! This is a very common scenario in many households with picky eaters. Dealing with picky eaters often leaves parents frustrated and concerned about the health of their children.
So as a parent, you may often wonder how to deal with the picky eating habit of your child. Food chaining can be useful in this scenario.
What is Food Chaining?
This therapeutic technique was created by Speech-Language Pathologists, Cheri Fraker & Laura Walbert.
Food chaining is a therapeutic strategy implemented by feeding therapists to increase the variety of food your child is willing to eat. This is a way to help picky eaters consume more food while building off of foods they already eat. This is a home-based therapy program that is designed by pediatric feeding therapists or trained healthcare professionals.
Who Are The Ideal Candidates For Food Chaining?
Food chaining technique is ideal for children with neurodiversity, developmental delays, sensory sensitivity, pediatric feeding disorder, autism, or typically a developing child.
Food chaining is great because it works for everyone, from when they are a baby to when they are all grown up! It’s successful because it helps people take small and easy steps to try new foods that are similar to what they already like. This way, they can learn to enjoy new foods bit by bit.
How Does Food Chaining Work?
Food shifting means gradually getting your child to try new foods based on what they already like.
If your child can talk, ask them what foods they like and what textures, temperatures, and flavors they prefer. If they can’t talk, think about what their favorite foods have in common. Are they all crunchy or mostly salty or sweet?
Remember the little details about each food they like. For example, if they only eat one brand of spaghetti, write it down. If they don’t care about the brand or shape, just write the name of the food.
Make a list of 5 to 10 new foods that are similar to the ones your child likes.
If your child only likes a few types of food, you can make a plan to try similar foods. But only introduce one or two new foods at a time, and only once a day.
Before You Start Food Chaining, There Are A Few Things You Should Keep In Mind.
- Remember, there’s no pressure to eat. You don’t have to force your child to take a bite of something they don’t want to try.
- You can talk to your child about how the food looks, feels and smells. This can help them understand what to expect when they try the food.
- Your child might need some time to get comfortable with the food before they’re willing to try it. They might want to touch it, smell it, and taste it before they’re ready to eat it.
- It’s important to let your child feed themselves if they want to. You can show them how to play with the food or eat it, but don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to.
- Start with small servings and don’t expect your child to love everything right away. Food chaining takes time, so be patient and keep trying!
Where To Find Help?
Hope AMC is a pediatric rehabilitation center that offers effective feeding therapy depending on the condition of the child. Our therapists carefully diagnose the condition of the child and offer customized therapy addressing the unique condition.
Whether your child needs food chaining or any specific feeding therapy in Dubai, our therapists can always help!
Book a consultation with one of our feeding therapists to discuss the condition of the child.