• G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
  • G&E Therapies
Home Family Resource Center Occupational Therapy Information Meal Time Tips
Meal Time Tips PDF Print E-mail

Logo_Articles_Transparent

Mealtime Tips

 

Does your child have a difficult time sitting down for a family meal? Does he squirm in his seat? Does she seem to want to always get up and eat somewhere else? The following are tips that you can use to help your son or daughter sit down for a family meal!

Determine what your child is doing before sitting down for a meal. Perhaps she was watching television or he was playing trucks with his brother. Your child may need to have some time or space to move around before a meal. This will help to provide the sensory input your child may be craving before he is expected to maintain his attention. You may want to consider planning a walk, playing “Ring Around the Rosy”, or jumping jacks before a meal. Give them verbal cues during these activities that they will soon be expected to sit down at the family table. You may even use a timer.

If your child seems like she has too much space during mealtime, you may want to find a chair with arms for her to sit in. This will provide her with boundaries. Also, you could attempt alternative seating, such as sitting on a large exercise ball or putting an inner tube on the chair. These types of seating will allow your child to slightly move during the meal, but not allow him to distract the rest of the family.

The setting of the meal environment may be too over stimulating for your child. You may want to play soft calming music during your meal to calm the children. Also, you may need to adjust the lighting or close the drapes or blinds to allow for a dimmed, calming affect. The kitchen table may also be too visually over stimulating for your child. Sometimes, when something looks really overwhelming it can cause stress. Try to remove unnecessary objects from the table (such as aluminum foil or wrappers). Provide placemats with visual cues of where to put utensils, dishes, cups, and napkins. For example, find a piece of material that can be easily washed off, and draw the shapes of each mealtime piece on the material.

Also, allowing your child to be a part of the preparation aspect of the meal is very important. This will make your child take a special interest in the food since she/he helped make it. Also, encourage your child to help set the table or even make placemats for all of the family members.

After discovering the most appropriate mealtime tip for your son and daughter, you will soon enjoy eating a meal with your family!

 

Written by

Kimberly M. Wiggins, OTR/L
Licensed Occupational Therapist