Picky eating is one of the most rampant and identifiable problems of a child. Most parents are faced with catastrophe preparing meals for a child who is a picky eater. The effect of picky eating if not identified at an early stage can make a child struggle with food throughout their whole childhood and sometimes even as adults. Picky eating is often a concern for mothers who worry about their children receiving enough good nutrition which is necessary for child’s development.
Nothing is more perturbing than having a child whose growth process and license to a healthy life is hampered due to picky eating habits. Mealtimes can hold little or no joy for you because you have to struggle to feed your child. Force feeding a child is not only stressful but also frustrating to both the parent and the child.
Sri Devi Mageandran, a Senior Speech-Language Therapist who specializes in paediatric feeding and swallowing disorders says; “Oftentimes picky eating habits may be due to underlying sensory issues. These issues are part of a bigger sensory processing problem that can affect the child’s daily activities”. A parent who discovers her child’s picky eating habits at an early stage stands a higher opportunity to curb those habits before the harmful effects begin to manifest in the child’s health. A study of eating behavior in young children found that up to 50% of parents consider their children to be picky eaters. Another study found that picky eating persisted in some children through 9 years of age.
The eating habits and behavior of a child should be taken seriously by parents and not considered as a norm or taken as an oversight, considering that nutritional status influences the mental function of growing children. If your child is a picky eater, important micronutrients may be deficient and this deficiency might lead to lack of attention and low mental performance in your child. Paying close attention to a child’s eating habit involves keeping track records of the child’s growth. Growth can be tracked through growth charts that show the ideal weight and height of your child. You can plot your child’s growth on these charts. If you notice a substantial lag, a growth plateau or a negative growth (weight loss) it is best to consult the pediatrician.
Below are Seven Red Flags that Show your Child is a Picky Eater:
- If he or she gags or even throws up at the sight, smell, touch, or taste of some foods.
- If your child avoids all foods of a particular texture or from a specific food group such as meats or vegetables.
- If your child will only eat when distracted by a tablet, the TV, toys, books, or even parents singing or telling stories.
- When a child is unable to eat the rest of what the family is eating at meals because their diet is so limited.
- A picky eater child typically Snacks instead of eating a meal.
- He or she has difficulties transitioning from milk to semi-solid food by 12 months.
- A picky eater when hungry will rather eat sweets and fatty foods instead of healthy foods.
It requires a lot of patience to carefully study a child and get rid of possible wrong eating habits like picky eating so, if you have identified your child as a picky eater then it is very necessary to begin to seek solutions to those wrong eating habits. Always remember that children love fun so even while seeking out a method, try to add a little bit of fun to their meal plan as this can boost interest in eating for children.