Question: I have a daughter who is 5 yrs old already and yet, she doesn't want to chew food. All she eats is rice with soup. We give her normal rice, but she swallows it no matter how much we give her. How do I teach her? Or is her condition worse? Thanks.
Answer: When you are dealing with children that are picky eaters it can be very difficult trying to introduce new and nutritional foods into their diets.
I highly recommend working with an occupational therapist to help encourage better eating habits and possible deal with any tactile dysfunction she may be having that is causing her not to want to eat foods with certain textures.
I also have some great strategies on my page for help with diets for picky eaters. Something that may work for you is to require her to at least try one bite of something before giving her the food she wants to eat.
You can use an incentive chart to reinforce her behavior of trying and then also reinforce the behavior with the desired food she wants to eat.
Question: My 6 year old daughter is under weight, and I can't get her to eat much. She will some times hold food in her mouth for 10 mins and refuse to swallow.
Answer: Is she refusing to eat due to sensory issues or difficulties with the textures of food? or Is she refusing to eat because she doesn't have an appetite? or Do you think she is worried about her weight already?
I have some pages for helping children that have problems with textures that are picky eaters. However, if she doesn't seem to be hungry or is worried about her weight, I would talk to your pediatrician immediately.
Your doctor would be able to better recommend the best course of treatment related to these issues. If you believe it is a texture issue, your doctor may also be able to refer you to an occupational therapist that could help increase the range of foods your daughter will eat.
Question: The 3 1/2 year old daughter of a friend has never chewed food and refuses to eat anything but completely pureed baby food or baby oatmeal. They consistently prepare food around her, sit with her at the dinner table, and offer food to her, with no success.
She is potty trained, acts age appropriate in all other aspects of life, is articulate, and has normal speech development. Her pediatrician doesn't seem concerned, nor do her parents. Is it too early to pursue an occupational therapist or some form of intervention??
Answer: It's never too early to have a child evaluated by a specialist when there are concerns. Being told that there is nothing to worry about is better than waiting until so much time has passed it requires a lot of work to correct the problem.
It sounds like your friend's daughter definitely has some oral defensiveness and issues with food textures. I'm actually very suprised that she has normal speech development since eating only pureed foods usually causes a lack of muscle development in the mouth.
Unfortunately, if the parents and pediatrician aren't concerned, there may not be much you can do. You may at least recommend that she check out my pages with ideas for dealing with picky eaters. I have even created a special incentive chart to help motivate children to try new foods.
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