I’ve been through a range of emotions today about picky eaters thanks to an AMAZING website I’ve just come across, called Your Kid’s Table written by Alisha Grogan, a paediatric occupational therapist. The site is a wealth of fascinating information about early child development, weaning, sensory play and helping picky eaters.
Starting with this article, 5 Reasons Kids Refuse to Eat, it has completely opened my eyes about what could potentially be causing Reuben’s eating habits.
I’ve mentioned before that Reuben eats a very limited amount of food (unless it’s junk or pudding) – it’s not the quantity that’s the problem but the variety. He’s definitely a hungry boy but despite the large array of food I put in front of him, he would (and does) eat toast and fruit for every meal. I try to not let it bother me but it’s bubbling under the surface all the time just waiting for some PMT to bring it out. One of the things that definitely stood out from Alicia’s top 5 was her description of Sensory.
“Simply put, if something feels gross in their mouth or on their hands, they aren’t going to eat it.”
I think Reuben could have this! It would explain why he won’t even touch stew or mashed potato, and would also explain his issue with have wet things (that he will eat, like porridge or scrambled eggs) on his hands or clothes.
Alisha suggests that to get over this kids should do lots of sensory play and playing with food to get used to different textures. One of things you can do is the good old sensory bin – do you remember I did one with Reuben back in Easter time? She has a bunch of ideas for both wet and dry sensory bins here, many of which I bet you have in your house right now! But she also mentions more physical things like this awesome looking Sensory Pillow Mountains because “Movement and exploration are also key components to many more sensory play ideas”. I had no idea but I’m well up for that on Saturday morning!
Chicken salad and sandwich
She also suggests that after a meal, any uneaten food should be played with. We did this yesterday with Reuben’s ‘chicken salad’. There was no way on God’s green earth he was going to eat it, but having it on the same plate and then playing with it was totally progress! Once he had finished his sandwich (this photo was a bit of an afterthought and he’d already eaten one of them), we lifted it up and dropped the pieces, and then I got him a pot and moved some bits to it, trying to encourage him to count. He wasn’t that interested but he did touch it and I felt it was a start!
It’s going to be slow going but at least I feel like I have an actual strategy! Thank you Alisha, your site is a veritable goldmine. Bedtime reading for the next few months?!