The season for cheerful, holiday festivities and cold weather has come upon us once more, bringing with it feelings of joy for most and feelings of anxiety for those who struggle with how to include their child with a feeding disorder into all the fun and good food.
While it is always necessary to discuss any strategy with your child’s team to ensure it is appropriate for your child’s developmental level, we offer a few suggestions for including kids with feeding impairments in all the holiday fun.
An official term that simply means allowing your child to taste and chew on foods that are enclosed in a mesh bag, allowing them the taste of foods without the risk of choking or aspirating. Mesh feeder bags can be purchased from Toys R Us.
Many families engage in food craft projects during the holidays, such as making gingerbread houses or decorating sugar cookies. While these activities offer great opportunities to have kids follow directions, it can also be a good time to let kids lick frostings, marshmallow fluff or any other toppings you may be using.
Putting the frosting in different spots for your child to lick off is a great way to include them in the cooking and have them practice tongue movements! Using a variety of flavors really gets the tongue going (sweet frosting, sour lemon juice, salty salt, etc.)
Adapt The Meal
Some families find success with altering the meal by pureeing some of the foods or only using foods with textures they know their child can tolerate. Thickening or thinning some foods or liquids may make them easier for your child to manage.
Children who have texture aversion problems may benefit from having two textures mixed, one they can tolerate and one that is less tolerable (i.e., mixing soft mashed potatoes with crunchy green beans).
Skip The Meal
Some families find the pressure of trying to explain why their child can’t eat, or attempting to find suitable food substitutions too overwhelming to add to an already hectic holiday schedule. Instead they opt to skip the meal portion of festivities altogether by arriving prior to or after the mealtime or engaging in separate activities, such as a holiday craft, while others eat.
It is every parent’s desire to make sure their kids are able to participate in all facets of life, especially those centered around social gatherings and holidays. Children with feeding disorders are no exception and it is important to include them in as much of the meal and planning as possible.
We hope these ideas have sparked some ways to include a child you know with a feeding disorder into all the holiday food fun!
If you have any questions regarding feeding disorders, please contact us at 404-606-3755 or at firstname.lastname@example.org!