What Causes Picky Eating (and How Pediatric Therapy Can Help)

Is your little one a picky eater? Emily Mike here from Building Futures Pediatric Therapy—I’m here to discuss picky eating in children and how pediatric occupational therapy can help instill confidence and interest around unfamiliar foods.

Understanding Picky Eating and Sensory Issues

There are several reasons why your child may be a picky eater; however, often the cause of a child’s disinterest or discomfort with food is due to a sensory issue. If your child refuses to eat foods that are slimy, crunchy, spicy, plain—the list goes on—this may be a sensory issue. Occupational therapy is a fantastic solution!

What Does a Sensory Issue Look Like in Children?

At Building Futures Pediatric Therapy, we see many children who struggle with feeding problems, including food selectivity and picky eating. Here is a hypothetical example of a child in our pediatric occupational therapy program who is working through food-related sensory issues. This child has spaghetti and grapes on their plate, which are considered colder and “slimier” foods. When they are faced with the meal on their plate, their pupils dilate, their skin becomes red, and they start to sweat. These are a few signs that this child is experiencing a sensory issue to the food they are expected to eat.

If we “force” this child to eat these foods, we may cause a slew of continued problems, including behavioral problems and exacerbated sensory issues to the food they are trying to eat. This can increase the child’s anxiety, which affects their whole body.

How Can Building Futures Support Your Child’s Healthy Diet?

The pediatric occupational therapy programs at Building Futures Pediatric Therapy treat the nervous system, helping children to calm down when faced with certain foods and control the reactions caused by these sensory issues. These treatments help children tolerate a wide range of foods that they want to eat but their body is rejecting.

If this sounds like a problem that you’re dealing with at home, bring your child into Building Futures. We will do a full evaluation, identify the problem, and create a program tailored to your child’s needs. If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call to schedule an evaluation. Click here!

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