Selective eating can improve with sensory play.
What thing can you just not stand to touch? I HATE touching chalk, and Megan despises touching anything with pruny post-swim hands!
Sometimes kids really hate touching certain textures or getting their hands dirty. If this aversion interferes with normal daily life - as in, they won’t touch certain foods or won’t eat certain textures, they won’t play with specific toys or art mediums, or they struggle with touch in other aspects of daily life - some sensory play may be in order.
To continue our Foodie Judy series (check out our other sensory posts on dry textures and wet, sticky textures), I want to share with you one of my favorite activities for kids who dislike getting their hands dirty - dot paint markers! Do A Dot Art washable paint markers are an AMAZING set that are great because they’re super portable and not messy (kids don’t have to touch the mess directly), but they create spots of paint that kids eventually want to touch and finger paint with! Make sure to have a bowl of water and some towels nearby in case your child gets anxious about the mess.
The more comfortable kids get with messy hands, the more tolerant they are of different textures at mealtime! It really does help - if you feel like you need more help with sensory struggles, ask your doctor about a referral to an Occupational Therapist specializing in sensory development. It can make all the difference!
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!