Tips from a Feeding Therapist: How Reading Aids Feeding Therapy Goals
As a feeding therapist, I am often asked, “What can I do at home with my child to improve his/her eating skills?” One of the easiest and least intimidating ways that a parent can improve their child’s acceptance of food is to read to them and talk to them about foods that they are not yet eating.
Talking about food can be as simple as pointing out foods in the grocery store that your child with feeding difficulties has not yet tried. This allows your child to look at the food and have a non-threatening experience with it. The more your child is exposed to foods that are not familiar, the more likely they are to try it down the road in a feeding therapy session.
As a speech pathologist, as well as feeding therapist, I cannot stress enough the importance of taking a little time each night to read to your child. Reading stories to your child has endless benefits, including multiple opportunities to talk about food in many different ways. I have had many successful feeding therapy sessions involving relating food to a story. For example, I read the story Dragons Love Tacos to one of my feeding clients. I sent the book home with the child to read each night with her parents. The following week, we made tacos during our session and concluded our session by taking a “Dragon” bite of taco. This child now eats tacos as a part of her regular diet.
Below you will find a short list of books that I recommend for young children with feeding difficulties; this could mean anyone with a small feeding concern, to someone who is actively participating in in or out patient feeding therapy. You can find most of these books at your public library. Another option is to look for videos of these books on YouTube. Some children find it easier to watch a video instead of sitting for a book. Keep in mind, there are many additional websites that incorporate videos/books/animation for kids. A good example of a website like this is: www.wegivebooks.com, a nonprofit website that provides users access to FREE children’s books online that show full pictures, read along words, etc.
By talking and reading to your child about food, you are increasing your child’s positive interactions with new foods and thereby likely to decrease the amount of time needed in feeding therapy.
Books I suggest for children with Feeding Difficulties:
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
The Little Mouse the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Shermat
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
Pizza at Sally’s by Monica Wellington
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
We hope you find this information useful. Please send us an email or give us a call if you have any further questions.
Jennifer -Speech Language Pathologist/Feeding Therapist