Feeding therapy for kids can be beneficial in ways that may surprise you. Mealtime should be a happy time, not a dreaded time. The goal of feeding therapy is to optimize the experience at the table so that your little can learn to eat or learn to eat better. If feeding time puts a frown on everyone’s face, you’ll want to be familiar with the benefits to know if feeding therapy could be a good option for your child.
Reduce Stress at the Table
Stress is served on a heavy platter when food is unwanted at mealtime. “How do I get my child to eat?” you might ask. This situation can be an endlessly stressful experience for a parent because you know how important nutrition is for your developing child. Feeding therapy for kids provides ways to reduce your child’s stress around new foods. Maybe you think your child is simply a picky eater, but this is not always true. In some cases, we use the term “problem feeder.” A problem feeder generally accepts under 20 different foods while picky eaters accept around 30. A problem feeder is a good candidate for feeding therapy because their diet lacks the food variety needed at mealtime. Talk about stressful! To learn more about the differences, check out our previous blog about feeding therapy. Otherwise, let’s take a look at how feeding therapy also helps incorporate much-needed variety.
Feeding Therapy for Kids Adds Variety
You know what they say. Variety is the spice of life. The same logic is true for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The body craves diverse meals, but sometimes, you may find that your toddler only wants to eat the same few foods over and over again. A feeding therapist will teach the family how to expand the food repertoire. In this way, feeding therapy for kids can help those who have sensitivities to certain foods due to texture. Sensory processing disorder in kids can easily reduce the nutritional variety that your child gets in a day. If you are trying to introduce new foods at home, make sure you try these ideas. Sometimes a few changes at home can make a big difference too.
Make Room for Better Nutrition, Growth, and Health
When eating becomes easier, you can bet that your child’s nutrition, growth, and health will benefit. Children come to feeding therapy for a variety of reasons, including to improve oral skills (chewing, sucking, swallowing), to address sensory discomforts, to reduce mealtime stress, and to ensure a healthy weight. Poor weight gain and growth are signs that your little one is struggling during mealtime, which is problematic for your child’s development all around. If you suspect that your child is having any trouble growing or gaining weight, it’s time to bring it up with your pediatrician. Once you consult your pediatrician, they can give you a referral for feeding therapy so that you can come to see us.
Mealtime is Now Funtime
The screaming. The fussing. The turning away in total refusal. When mealtime is a little shop of horrors, that’s a perfect reason to ask your pediatrician about feeding therapy. Mealtime should never be a constant battle or create tension in the home. Feeding therapy for kids will give you tools to put creativity and fun into eating well without any more major struggles. It’s important to enjoy yourself while learning and growing, which is why we work hard to provide an experience that is both fun and functional for the kids and parents. It’s often the case that parents wish they had come in sooner because they realize that the benefits of feeding therapy are off the chain.
If you’re thinking that feeding therapy may be right for your child, we’re right here for you. Learn more about Feeding Therapy’s role in development and how we can help.