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.


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An 8-week program for children age 3-5 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 therapist Mackenzie Baldock and developmental therapist/PLAY Project Consultant Brenna Thompson, both 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 begins with a 30 minute Open House on Tuesday October 4 for your child & caregiver/family to attend. This provides an opportunity to meet the therapists, acclimate your child to the space and provide some initial information about your child’s responses to a variety of sensory activities. 30 minute sessions will be offered from 12:30-4:30 on 10/4 with sign up sent with registration.


GROUP MEETS for 6 weeks October 11-November 15: Tuesdays 2:00-3:00 OR Tuesdays 3:30-4:30. ***We ask that families who are able remain flexible on the time slot so we can effectively pair your child with others that they will gain the maximum benefit from for social interactions!** Caregivers are encouraged to stay to support their child and learn helpful strategies, however other options will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Caregiver education is a key component of this program. Make-up date in case of class cancellation: 11/22/22


Group ends with a 15-30 minute Zoom wrap up session with caregiver(s) on November 29th. Every participant will receive a short, personalized Session Summary report complete with suggestions/recommendations for helpful sensory supports in the child’s home/classroom/community.