4 Helpful Hints for Encouraging Your Picky Eater at Home

  1. Sit at the table–An important part of encouraging your kiddo eat more foods is establishing routines. Sitting at the table is part of the routine. Children are very cue-driven and having them sit at the same place for meals &/or snacks is an important first step in establishing an eating routine. Highchairs and booster seats are great, but we understand not everyone has these at their homes. We’ve recommended families use a toddler sized table and chair set if they’ve got it. 
  2. Establish a meal schedule–Many children (and adults!) tend to enjoy snacks throughout the day and we wonder…do they ever really feel hunger? We frequently recommend families begin to establish a consistent meal and snack schedule to target having your child feel hungry. Enhancing appetite is a key way to begin encouraging more foods into their diet. A schedule doesn’t have to be exact times, but certainly aim for offering breakfast, lunch, dinner & a couple of snacks in between meals. 
  3. Encourage drinking water–This is absolutely something we all need to work on! It may seem simple, but can be so important! Kiddos who are drinking milk, juice, or other other sugary drinks may be filling up on these drinks & decreasing their overall appetite for solid foods. Drinking water improves overall hydration and can even help with constipation. You can even add flavored drops or mixes into water if your child (or you!) isn’t drinking plain water. 
  4. Be a good example--You’ve heard it before, but your child truly does learn from what they see their parent/caregivers do. If you want your kiddo to eat more fruits, you should be modeling eating more fruit. If you want your kiddo to sit at the table without their iPad at the table, you should sit at the table without your phone. Talk about the foods that you are eating in a positive or fun way (“I think this broccoli looks like a little tree and it kind of tickles my tongue when I eat it!” or “These strawberries are so delicious!) to increase their interest in new foods. Check out the photo with this post of kiddos enjoying some healthy Fondue together!

There are so many ways to encourage children to eat more foods, and many reasons that children are picky in the first place! We hope these tips help your family to enjoy more mealtimes together.


An 8-week program for children age 3-6 with sensory processing differences

Children with sensory processing differences have difficulty with regulation, which sometimes makes it difficult for them to interact with the world around them. Our Sensory Explorers group targets regulation in order to build engagement! This group is led by pediatric occupational therapists Mackenzie Baldock (2:30 group) OR Meghan Day (8:30 group) and developmental therapist/PLAY Project Consultant Brenna Thompson, all of whom specialize in using developmentally appropriate strategies to support children so they can learn new skills. Group meets once/week for 60 minutes.

Wondering if this class is appropriate for your child? Some characteristics of kids who benefit: easily frustrated with play, repetitive play, difficulty sitting/keeping still to engage in play, refuses to allow others to engage in play, unable to be messy, overly busy, quickly overwhelmed in a busy environment, picky eater, difficulty tolerating grooming/dressing/diapering routines, struggles with transitions/following a group plan/routine. 

Goals of the group include:

  • Child participating in a variety of sensory play activities
  • Engaging socially with others in the group
  • Providing a non threatening environment where children can experience new sensations with the support of a pediatric Occupational Therapist and PLAY Project consultant
  • Providing personalized resources to caregivers, so they better understand the sensory system and learn strategies to assist their child with regulation outside of group
  • Opportunity to meet with other local families

GROUP MEETS for 8 weeks:  Caregivers must stay on the premises to support their child and learn helpful strategies. Children will separate from caregivers for the session; caregivers can socialize in the lobby (we will also provide a few toys for siblings to play). Caregiver education is a key component of this program. 


OPTIONAL Summary Report available at close of session. This 2 page report will summarize your child’s participation in the class and provide helpful sensory strategies to increase their participation in activities. This report could be given to teachers in classrooms & daycares or utilized to help educate other caregivers about ways to help your child participate. This option includes a 30 minute Zoom meeting with Brenna and MacKenzie/Brenna and Meghan to review the report and discuss your child’s progress in Sensory Explorers. COST: $100 due at sign up