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May 2, 2023 in Feeding, Home Care

Children who have difficulty eating

Children who have difficulty eating Some children are picky eaters while other children have difficulty eating. There are some causes as to why the child may have trouble eating and some things that parents can do to help their children to eat and encourage them to try new foods.

Developmental Disabilities

Children with developmental disabilities often have some problems when it comes to eating. Between 25 and 35 percent of these children have some trouble when it comes to mealtime and feeding issues. This number could be higher but it is not uncommon among their population.

Ways to Tell if the Child has an Eating Problem

Mealtime can be stressful and have an impact on the entire family if the child does not want to eat. There are some ways to tell if a child has a problem when it comes to eating. They include ;

  • • The child has trouble gaining weight and is very thin
  • There are tantrums when meals are served
  • It takes over 40 minutes to take a couple of bites
  • The child will refuse to feel
  • The child eats less than 12 foods due to being very picky

If a child does not have some help with eating they may have a failure to thrive and on the other end they may end up suffering from obesity. If the child does not have good nutrition it can even affect their ability to learn. If the child is going to school they may experience some social issues when it comes to mealtime. They may sit alone at lunch and may not want to go to social events such as birthday parties since food and cake are served.

Reasons why Children are Picky Eaters

There are many different reasons as to why a child would be a picky eater. Some common things may cause a child to be picky.

  • If the child is refusing to eat they can be looking to get away from the foods. Parents will allow their child to skip a meal or not eat the foods so there is not a tantrum.
  • If the parent is coaxing the child to eat this can lead to issues. They may also try to comfort the child if they are crying. While parents think they are helping the situation they are giving in to the attention-seeking behavior of the child.
  • Parents often give in to the child and give them foods they like so they will eat something and no be hungry. This is reinforcing that the child can eat what they want and will not have to eat new foods.


Ways to Help Picky Eaters or Children that do not Want to Eat

Doctors often tell parents that a child will eat when they are hungry. There are some behavioral techniques that a parent can use to help their child try some new foods. .

Identify Foods

A parent should make a list of all of the new foods that they want their child to try. They should also include the foods that the child will eat. It is important to introduce foods with similar tastes and textures to the foods that the child already eats. This will help bring new foods into the diet and still allow the child to be comfortable. .

Use Reinforces

To get the child to try new foods it is important to find something that motivates them. This can be food items they like or even an activity they enjoy doing. If the child tries the food they should be given the reinforcer. If this item is given to the child outside of the mealtime it will lose its effectiveness.


This method will take some time but it is effective. The food should be put near the child’s plate. Once they get used to the look it should be put on the plate. They should be encouraged to touch and feel the food. They should then be encouraged to put the food on the lips and then in the mouth and chew. It may take some time but it is effective. .

These are some tips to help parents if their child will not eat. Children may be hesitant to try new foods so a parent needs to be patient and introduce new items a little at a time. .

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