Are you struggling to get your child to eat their meals? This is a common complaint and concern we hear from parents in our office. It can be a serious struggle to get their little ones to eat, and it is hard to tell if it’s picky eating or a much bigger problem.
One way we encourage parents to support their children at mealtimes is by helping them play while they eat. This can be done in various ways, like using special toys or tools that allow them to explore. Sometimes, when we suggest this, parents are concerned that if a child is taught to play with their food, there will be negative consequences, but in our experience, this isn’t the case.
Why do our feeding therapists encourage playing with food?
Playing with food gives the child the opportunity to explore at mealtimes. When they’re encouraged to use their senses, it entices them to try new things and feel more comfortable at mealtime.
You can purchase new things, but oftentimes, the novelty of incorporating things that you already have is great! In the photo below, you’ll see that the child is using a dump truck to scope the rice. Feeding tools not only allow them to explore their food but also allow positive, fun experiences, which we need when we are consuming food.
When your child can play with their food, it removes the pressure they may feel during mealtimes. This is vital for children to be able to try new foods. The less pressure a child feels when eating, the more likely they will be to try new things and enjoy mealtime with the family. This leads to less frustration and more connected family time.
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