This is the second in a series about feeding disorders as researched by Children’s National psychiatrist Irene Chatoor, MD.
Do you have a child that will eat only yellow food like macaroni and cheese, but screams any time you serve peas? You may have a selective eater in your house.
According to Children’s National psychiatrist Irene Chatoor, MD
, author of the new ebook When Your Child Won’t Eat or Eats Too Much
, selective eaters are children who either change their food preferences often or consistently refuse the same foods.
There are two types of selective eaters: a) children who change food preferences frequently and b) children who develop sensory food aversions, which can be a taste, texture, or even a whole food group.
Selective eating disorders are caused by several genetic and environmental influences:
- Genetic influences
- Tastebud sensitivity
- Fear of trying new foods is hereditary
- Environmental influences
- Exposure to new food
- Role of rewards on food preferences
- Effect of modeling eating by parents and peers on food preferences
- Effect of negative experiences associated with eating certain foods
These types of eating disorders tend to surface when new foods are introduced. Dr. Chatoor developed a guideline for parents to follow when sharing new food with their children. There are also several things parents can do to specifically treat selective eaters.Selective Eating Treatment:
- Determine underlying reason for selectivity
- Is it food aversion or is the child changing food preference constantly?
- Set limits with children who change food preferences frequently by only offering three different types of food at mealtimes and not giving into demands
- Upon protest of new limits, enable time-out method
- Encourage eating meals together, as a family, to increase modeling
- If your child gags or vomits upon first try at a new food, keep mood neutral, but make a mental note not to serve that food again
For even more tips on feeding children and all about Dr. Chatoor’s research on feeding problems, read her book online