Ever wonder if and why your child is anxious with food? It’s complicated, but in this post I’m simplifying it and giving you 5 steps to help your child out of that fear of food.
Has your kid ever come to the table and not only didn’t want to eat anything you prepared, but acted scared and fearful of the food that was on the table?
If so, your child *might* have anxiety with food, a food phobia, or a fear of foods.
This fear of foods can be specific to one or a few types of food, or it could be universal across nearly all foods. But, here’s the thing. This can all be tied up with picky eating. Well, not just average I love chicken nuggets and mac’n cheese kind of picky eating, but extreme picky eating.
Typically, that means kids eating less than 20 foods and that have strong reactions to new and different foods.
But anxiety with food can also be stand alone issue. If that’s starting to make your head spin – it’s understandable. Let’s break this down one step at a time so you can figure out if anxiety is a component of your kid’s eating challenges, and if it is, what you can do to help them.
What is a Food Phobia? Is the Fear of Food Real?
It can be difficult for many parents to relate to their child that is straight up freaking out over their green beans like the boogeyman just popped a squat at the table. But, food phobia is a real thing. Kids with classic food phobias will often seem irrationally fearful and scared of a particular (or many) foods. It doesn’t make sense and usually isn’t present in younger children.
It can develop later in childhood and come seemingly out of nowhere. Sometimes, children with food phobias have no previous difficulty with food, they may not have even been a picky eater.
But, a general fear of food can develop from anxiety. And, anxiety is a slippery feeling that can show up in all sorts of unusual areas, including eating!
Is Anxiety With Food the Same Thing as Extreme Picky Eating?
This is where it starts to get tricky because for some kids with extreme picky eating, they too can have anxiety with food, but in my experience as an occupational therapist and treating hundreds of families, anxiety is often the result of a negative experience or sensory issues.
I firmly believe that there are many layers to extreme picky eating, and several of those layers are the underlying reason your kid isn’t eating. Sensory issues (think texture, smells, flavor of food) is at the top of list, but so are oral motor skills, and medical issues like acid reflux.
Those issues are often (but not always) present at an early age, as in as soon as a child is starting to eat or in their toddler years. That means when a child can’t chew food properly and they almost choke, or actually do, it’s scary. For some kids, they internalize that experience and desperately want to avoid repeating it.
They narrow their food choices to control what’s going into their mouth and may lose their mind, flip out, and cry if you even suggest taking a bite.
It’s fair to say that there’s some anxiety about the food, but I’d argue that it’s not the root cause. It’s the result of a negative experience. The same thing happens with kids that have pain with eating because of numerous possible medical issues or a sensitivity to different textures.
If looking at, touching, or tasting peanut butter causes your child to have a strong visceral reaction like gagging or throwing up, then there’s going to be some anxiety around peanut butter.
Food Aversions Related to Anxiety
And, that’s where food aversions come in. When a child has either had a negative experience or perceives it will be negative because of how a food looks, smells, feels, or tastes, then it’s the breeding ground for a strong food aversion.
A food aversion is when a child seems to be physically unable to eat a food because of the underlying causes we talked about.
You already know anxiety is a component of that, but it’s usually not the driving factor.
Anxiety With Food is Usually a Factor
I think most extreme picky eaters experience a level of anxiety with their food because they have real concerns about eating it.
But, there’s another group of kids that struggle with anxiety primarily and, if they have a history of picky eating, are likely to fixate on a fear of foods as part of their anxiety.
How to Help Your Child With Anxiety or Fear of Food
Either way, the big question is how you can help your child overcome that anxiety with food and willingly eat the foods their avoiding. I’ve got 5 steps for you on exactly how to do that:
1. Get to the bottom of it, is it primarily based in anxiety?
Hopefully, you’ve got some ideas around whether or not your child’s anxiety is primarily rooted in anxiety or if it’s secondary to another underlying cause that’s creating the extreme picky eating situation. But, let’s get really clear so that you’re not wondering by asking these questions:
- Would you describe your child as a picky eater?
- Does your child have a long history of picky eating?
- Did your child’s picky eating begin as a result of their sensory processing, medical issues, oral motor difficulties, or was it a snowball of average toddler picky eating that got out of control?
If you answered yes to any of those, anxiety is likely a bi-product of picky eating. You can follow the rest of the steps, but addressing the root cause of the problem is an important step in your situation. Head to 5 Reason Kid’s Won’t Eat to learn more.
But, if you answered no and your child struggles with anxiety in other areas of their life, then helping your child from an anxiety perspective will be most helpful. Continue with the following steps, and consider looking for a child therapist that specializes in anxiety in your area. Ask your doctor and friends for referrals.
2. Stop the pressure!
If you’ve listened to my facebook lives, have read other posts here on Your Kid’s Table, or are a student of Mealtime Works (my picky eating program), then you’ve heard me say this 1,000 X: end all pressure at meals.
I have to say it again because it’s the most important step you can take when your child has anxiety about food.
No matter how good your intentions are when you beg, bribe, reward, distract, or even praise your child about the food they’re eating, it will very likely increase their anxiety, not decrease it. The more anxious they feel, the harder it will be to make true progress.
A child that’s anxious about food will have the most successful and long lasting progress when they feel at least some level of control, comfortable, and supported. Pressure doesn’t do any of those things.
Check out more on not pressuring your child to eat.
3. Talk to your child about their anxiety around food. Learn why they feel that way.
It’s time to have a conversation with your child about what makes them feel them scared. When you begin this convo, make sure you’re in a place where you want to understand, not when you’re annoyed that you just dumped another failed dinner down the drain.
Choose a time when you’re one on one and they’re receptive to talking. My kids respond best when we’re in the car or right before bed and I’m tucking them in.
Start by saying something like this, “I noticed that you get upset and seem uncomfortable anytime there’s vegetables on the table. I want to understand better. Can you tell me why you think you feel that way?”
You may get some “I don’t knows”, which means you’ll need to rephrase or take a break and try again in a few days.
But, you’re trying to get them to talk about what it is that makes them anxious (they may not be entirely aware of this). It’s a big step when you and your child can both understand what’s causing the anxiety.
It could be a fear of choking and dying. It could be their scared the noodles will feel like snakes. The list goes on and on, but you don’t know until you talk about it. This conversation, when approached from a support standpoint, also helps your child feel like you’re on the same team as them. They want you to get what they’re going through.
4. Make a plan for a small step
Let your child know that you’re sorry they feel this way about food, but that you’re here to help them.
Ask them what’s one thing they could do with the food(s) they’re fearful of. Highlight that it could be something really small. Some examples are (but this will vary widely from child to child):
- Put the food in the grocery cart when shopping
- Clean the food (fresh fruits and veggies)
- Allow a small amount of the food in a section of their divided plate (or a small bowl/plate nearby)
- Tolerate the food on the same table
- Wear some essential oils on their wrist during dinner so they don’t smell the other foods
- Pick a recipe that includes a food their fearful of
- Help cook or prepare a food their anxious about
- Serve other’s at the table the food
You may have to go REALLY small. That’s okay, it’s a starting point. After they make that one step, which could take days or weeks, then you move onto another step, this time it’s a little more interaction or tolerance.
Some kids will need some extra motivation, and while I wouldn’t recommend rewarding for food eaten, you could “celebrate” when they reach a new milestone. Maybe they get to rent a movie of their choice on Friday night or you have a picnic dinner in the backyard?
Choose something that’s fun and easy for you.
Remember. that if you pick something too hard to work on in step 4, their isn’t anything that will motivate them, that’s how deep their fears are.
And, some kids don’t need this step at all, I only use it when I absolutely have to.
It’s possible for your child to get a better handle on their anxiety with food and food phobias with your help. Speaking from personal experience, when your child feels like you’re working together instead of against them, it changes everything. Now they’ll look to you for help.
You’ve got to be careful to not enable them once you fall into that dynamic though. Instead slowly and steadily always push them a little out of their comfort zone.
Over time, that builds up and makes a huge difference in foods they’re willing to eat.
To learn more about the key steps you can take for any child with picky eating, grab a seat in my free workshop here.
More on Picky Eating in Kids
Are Super Picky Eaters Doomed to Eat Badly for Life?
Simple Calming Activities for Active or Overwhelmed Kids to Start Today!
How to Believe in Yourself When You’re Tired, Stressed, and Overwhelmed With a Picky Eater
Alisha Grogan is a licensed occupational therapist and founder of Your Kid’s Table. She has over 14 years experience with expertise in sensory processing and feeding development in babies, toddlers, and children. Alisha also has 3 boys of her own at home. Learn more about her here.
My 3 years and 9 month old son not eating anything after choking he only drink milk I tried everything doctor refer him to dietitian but I am not receiving any call yet his all test is ok he is scared from any food what I can do now I m so worry about him plz help
Hi! Thanks for reaching out! That sounds like it was really scary for everyone. Going back to smooth foods like yogurt, pudding and apple sauce for a day or two might help him feel more comfortable. Then you can gradually add back in table foods. If he still continues to struggle with eating, our free online workshop is a great starting point. You can save your seat HERE.
I have an 8 year old daughter, that has always been a picky eater, but for the past year, she keeps including less and less food she does not want to eat. She used to eat rice, a little bit of lettuce and won’t eat any vegetables. She just wrote in a school essay that she gets scared when she eats. I see her start eating and half way thru she stops says she feels something in her throat or has the feeling to burp and then gets anxious to keep eating. Mind you she does not get like this when she eats her favorite snack gold fish, only when eating meals at the table. This does not happen all the time, but I feel I need to address it now before she keeps adding things to her no eating list.
Please advise what I can do? Thank you
That sounds really tough. Goldfish do dissolve fairly easily compared to some other foods, so that might be playing into the sensory challenges a bit. We have so many new resources opening up in a few weeks for picky eaters, be sure to sign up for our email if you haven’t already. If you notice she has anxiety in other areas of her life as well, Natasha Daniels has some great resources to check out.
Please let me know what you do and how you do it?! My 7 year old son is exactly the same and it stresses me out! He eats like a bird and says he’s afraid he’s going to throw up.
That sounds like such a struggle for your son! It can be really hard. Our free picky eating workshop is a great place to start for info. Getting to the bottom of any underlying concerns about his fears can be really helpful. You can save your seat HERE.
My 2.5 year old doesn’t eat anything solid. She’s surviving now off of breast milk and one particular flavor happy tot pouch. She likes to suck on honeycomb cereal but take it out and place it on a napkin. She also likes to lick salt off Tostitos scoops until the chip is soft and then will not eat it. She gags and spits up anything other than that. It’s weird because I remember her eating an avocado before without an issue. The doctors recommended a food therapist but at $85 a week it was just a lot but now we’re desperate and are going to try the therapist again. I’m concerned about her. My husband is tall, lean and athletic and so is she but I don’t know if that’s because she’s not eating properly. Doctors appointments are so hard to come by these days with Covid going around so her next appointment isn’t until next month. How do you get a 2.5 year old to talk about “anxiety” or “fear” when they’re just 2. If it isn’t a color, shape, number, animal, street vehicle, toy, or person, I don’t know what the kid is talking about lol. I’m going back in the office and she will be home with hubby. Any advice would be for him. Oh, I’m ready, past ready to stop nursing her! I can’t of course because if I take the boob away I feel she really won’t be getting enough.
If I had to think what brought this on I would say maybe it happened when the doctors clipped her tongue when she was smaller citing possible future issues due to tongue tie. Thank you in advance
Oh that sounds so challenging! It sounds like you’re on the right track, looking into this a little bit more. There could be variety of reasons that she is struggling- the primary two being challenges with her oral motor skills and difficulties dealing with sensory information that comes with feeding. It can be really helpful to start with dissolvable solid foods (like gerber puffs or graham crackers) and demonstrate for her, an over exaggerated chew. I’d also suggest you check out our free table foods workshop. You can save your seat HERE.
Thank you so much for your reply Andrea! I will look into it now and keep you posted
You’re welcome! Yes, please keep us posted on how things are going 🙂
This is so similar to our 4year old! Although she loved trying foods when she was 1, sandwiches, fruits etc but me and my partner were paranoid about choking, with her being our first and only kid. She choked on water a few months later which scared her and me as she couldn’t breath for a good 20-30seconds which feels like a lifetime. Then I think me and Allan being so paranoid passed it on to her and since then she’s become more and more anxious and does what your little one does, licks the salt off chips etc, licks the butter/honey off pancakes/toast etc and only drinks milk, water and will eat some fruit puree. Our family keep putting pressure on us to be firmer with her but she’s explained she’s scared of choking and she panics if she has crumbs in her mouth. Will take a look at the workshop now.
Your use of Their was very distracting for me, but this is very good information!
Thanks for the feedback! We’re happy to hear that you found the info helpful!
Hello, my son is 8 years old. He has been a picky eater since he was an infant. He had never had a choking incident or any “scary” moments with food. He will eat all the sugary stuff like it’s going out of style. But when it comes to dinner time he looks so incredibly stressed out. He looks at the fish and makes his mind up he doesn’t like it. It ends in tears and screaming. I’ve tried having him look through cookbooks and helping to find meals and I just can’t get him to eat. He is very small for his age. Weight is barely in the first percentage. Plus if he does eat (even his favorite foods) he takes almost an hour per meal.
Please help us
We understand and hear that all the time! You are not alone! The first step in working on any picky eating is starting with a no pressure environment! This can really help kids feel more comfortable around mealtimes! You can learn about this first step and more in our free picky eating workshop! Save your seat here!
I have a seven year old who is actually scared to try anything new. He literally survives on a carb diet, which unfortunately is making him gain weight. I feel like a complete failure and don’t know how to change his eating habits without causing him not to eat at all.
Hi Rachel! Thanks for reaching out. You are not a failure and you are not alone! This is so common amongst picky eaters. For starters, try talking with him and asking him about his fears surrounding food. See if you can come up with a game plan together to try new foods. Always promote a no-pressure environment! Consult your pediatrician for a possible referral to an Occupational Therapist. We have more tips in this blog post here. Hope this helps!
My 2.5yrs old boy suddenly is scared of rice, noodles, pasta, corns and peas. He only want to have biscuits and he doesnt want to touch other food and will spit out immediately. He only wants biscuits and milk and refused to touch other food. Are there any way I can let him overcome this?
So sorry to hear that you guys are dealing with this. It can be such a challenge! It sounds like he may be struggling with different sensory aspects of some foods. Our free picky eating workshop would be a great fit. It gives you great suggestions to start using right away. You can save your seat HERE.
Hello there, my 3 and half year old son was eating a peanut butter sandwich. The bread and peanut butter got stuck to the roof of his mouth. When he got scared and told me I immediately scoop it out with no problem. Now he’s terrified to eat anything. He won’t even touch his favorite foods. He will only drank milk, pediasure, and ice cream. I just don’t know what to do anymore.
Oh I’m so sorry you guys had that experience! I bet it was really scary for your little one. I would rotate the softer foods as much as possible, so he doesn’t get stuck one just one. Apple sauce, pudding, yogurt, etc are all great options. Then slowly start to re-introduce foods that are easy to eat like graham crackers. You can break them into small pieces and show him how they easily dissolve and reassure him that you’re nearby, so he can always ask for help. Our free picky eating workshop is also another great resource. You can save your seat HERE.
Hi, my 5y Daughter for the past 10 days has a stopped eating solid food. A day by day she refuses all kinds of food. Today it tooked her 1 hour to dring blended milk and cookie, when i asked her what is the problem with eating, she says “i’m affraid i’m gonna choke” and starts crying. What should we do?
Oh that sounds so hard for you guys! It might be helpful to sit down with your daughter and have a discussion with her to see if she had a specific experience where she either did choke or felt like she was choking. Letting her talk about that might be helpful. It might be helpful to rotate through as many softer foods as possible for a little while while very slowly introducing her to more solid foods. If this goes on for longer than a few days it would be worth it to bring it to her doctors attention. Our free picky eating workshop also might be a great help in giving you suggestions to make mealtime pressure free and positive. You can save your seat HERE.
I have an 11 yr old son who doesn’t want to try any new food , He lives on Dino nuggets,Palin pasta, He claims that he loves vegetables(only baby Carrots-once or twice a year)& Apples(once or twice a year). Not so sure which dr /counselor/therapists to look for. We did endoscopy with a gastroenterologist to rule out if he has anything troubling inside, which came negative. Not sure what to do. Please help
That sounds like your son is having a hard time! Sometimes older kids respond better to having a bit more control of the situation. Maybe next time you go to the grocery store, you could ask him which different type of chicken nugget he would be willing to try (even if it’s just a different brand of dino shaped nugget). You might check out our post for older kids for more ideas!
My 3.5 year old daughter recently choked a little on a sharp chip and now she won’t eat anything solid or crunchy. Actually, she barely eats at all now and pulls food out of her mouth…maybe a couple of spoonfuls of porridge and a little banana. She says everything is crunchy and she is scared to eat. Before this she was a great eater. Please, any advice or tips? I am so worried and don’t know what to do.
That sounds like a really scary experience! I’m so sorry she had to go through that. I’m glad to hear she has started some banana again. You might try to do a little no pressure to eat “experiment” and break up different foods like crackers. You can encourage her that there are no sharp edges for her to choke on. Interacting with the foods in a positive way may slowly get her used to the idea of eating them again. You might also check out our post about anxiety that might be helpful. I hope that helps!
Heyy, first, you guys doing great job.
I have 2 years old son and he. Seems all okay. But not eating anything from last 2-3 days except milk. He is just saying 🥵 hot to every food because 2-3 days ago while he was eating something it was little hot. I think now he is afraid everything is hot even a biscuit or chocolate or any fruit or food. Afraid to drink water as well.
Please suggest how I can remove his this anxiety.
That sounds like your little one is having such a tough time! I know that can be difficult for you too! Sometimes a one time situation can make picky eaters take a couple steps back. You might try decreasing his anxiety about the food being hot by suggesting he touch it with his hands or just to his lips first to test the temperature. You can also, take a small bite or sip yourself to show that it isn’t too hot. We also have a post that addresses anxiety that you might find helpful! I hope that gives you some ideas!
Thanks for your reply.
Yes already trying to ask him to touch it first. He is touching but still saying its hot( only using hands but). I will try asking him to touch with lips too.
Other thing I am trying to show him by having myself that its okay but still doesn’t work.
I visited doctor today as well as he isn’t drinking water as well so was worried. Doctor checked that his throat is little red and he said he may be in pain as well due to his throat so he gave some medicine as well.
Don’t know what to do, thanks to God he is having milk and shakes as well. But still struggling for other foods and water.
Please suggest what you think.
It sounds like your son possibly has something else going on with his throat based on what you shared. If his throat is in pain, that may also make him not want to eat. I would definitely follow what the doctor prescribed and see if that makes a difference with his pain. You could continue to offer him all the foods and drinks you have been and continue to have him interact with foods (explaining that they aren’t hot and won’t hurt him) to help reduce any fears he has. If you still have concerns about his throat, I suggest reaching out to the doctor. I hope that helps!
I have a 3 year old daughter that refused to eat textured food after she attempted and choked, she only eats blended food and I don’t know if I should wait it out under she’s older and can communicate her fears and understand when I reassure her or if I should start now, I realized that trying to encourage her now frustrates her even more and she ends up crying..please advise?
That sounds like it was a really scary experience for all of you guys! That can be really challenging for younger kids to explain as well. You might consider trying to introduce a variety of foods now, so the problem doesn’t increase. We suggest using dissolvable solids to start with (graham crackers or gerber puffs work great). You can play with these foods a bit and show her how they break up into almost a powder before she eats them, to help her feel a little more comfortable at first. Check out our post on teaching how to chew to start back from the basics. I hope that helps!
Hi, my 6yr old daughter has been a picky eater for the past few years. As a baby, she was a really easy eater but now, if she was given the choice..we would be eating the same 2-3 dishes everyday! She has a big issue trying new dishes and is always the last to finish her food by a mile. We try to involve her with the cooking and she seems to enjoy that but if we introduce even 1 new flavour/ dish to the table, it becomes a nightmare! Finding it very challenging to work out the source of the problem. She has a gluten intolerance. Also we’ve become vegan as a family (but she seems happy with this decision)
We know how hard this can be! I love that you are involving her in the kitchen, this can be extremely helpful. I would continue to do this as much as you can. Also, we do have a free workshop that is helpful for starting to work on picky eating with your child. It will help you on how to remove all pressure from the meals. You can save your seat HERE
My son is 12, almost 13 and has always been a ‘picky eater’. We’ve tried to ignore it in the hope he would grown out of it, but it’s now developed into anxiety about trying any new foods. He only eats pasta, noodles, sweetcorn and carrots. I’ve tried all sort over the years but nothing has really helped. I’m not sure what to do to help him with this but I’m concerned he’s just not getting the food he needs. Any advice?
Thanks for reaching out! We know how hard this can be! I’d check out our article on Teenage Picky Eating we have a lot of great information in there for you! Hopefully it helps on your journey!
My 9 year old has a huge fear of people vomiting at the dinner table. However this is only when she is eating with people who she doesn’t usually eat with on a regular basis. It’s stopped us going out for meals, parties, anything that involves big amounts of non regular people & eating. Can anyone suggest anything…its ruling our lives!
That sounds really challenging! She’s worried that other people will vomit, not that she will correct? Since she’s on the older side, letting her stay a little further away from others while eating might be a good way to bridge. Keeping track of every meal that no one throws up at in a little booklet might be helpful. That way she can have tangible proof that it is something that rarely happens. If this persists, it might be helpful to chat with her doctor about her anxiety.
From last day suddenly my about two years old baby are crying to see the food… She is not taking any bite of food…. Her all other physical condition is almost okey…plZ suggest the advise and what can be the reason…. She enjoyed to have all types of food before the day.
So sorry you are having trouble feeding your little one. Since it is such a quick change from her loving and wanting foods to not wanting to look at them, I’d check for teething or any illness. I’d make sure to keep mealtimes relaxed with no pressure to eat. Make sure that she has opportunity to touch and explore the food on her own as well. If she’s continuing to not accept any foods we do have a free workshop that will help with some other strategies as well. You can save your seat HERE
My 4 1/2 year old has so much trouble eating. her stress is so much that I’m seriously so lost as how to help.
if she smells something she doesn’t like she throws up. when she eats she literally nibbles at her food like a mouse. She cries when its almost lunch time because she hates that time to eat is approaching.
I don’t know what to do anymore.. this has been goin on for almost 2 years.. we are going to occupational therapy but i don’t feel its working.. nothing really is. I’m afraid she will develop a bigger eating disorder when she is bigger..
Sorry to hear you and your daughter are going through such a hard time. In therapy, I’d make sure to see what their goals are and what they are providing for you to be doing in the home, as there needs to be carryover. Also, getting to the root cause of why she’s so upset will be really helpful in moving forward. From the sounds of it, there is some sensory difficulties going on with her smelling. Check out this post for some ideas to help you work through it!
My 12 yr old seems to have developed a sudden sense of anxiety due to being off school and this is affecting his eating. He says he is panicking so much that he worries eating will make him sick, he takes twice as long to eat and is visibly shaking at the dinner table. I’m so worried about him. Weve tried to help clear his mind during the day by doing the things he enjoyed and getting out for walks etc but nothing seems to be helping!
So sorry your son is having this anxiety. All these changes in the world can be hard on them too! We do have a different article about anxiety and some resources to help. You can read more about it HERE. Hope you find some helpful tips!
My 11yr old son is terrified of trying anything, he lives off of veg, chips and some dry bland foods such as plain pasta or spaghetti. He is reducing the foods he will eat even further which is worrying me even more. I have tried everything and I am scared for his health and wellbeing. Please help me x
It can be really tough and scary when kids eat very few foods. YOu might try slowly expanding the foods he does eat by making very small changes at first. This might look like using a slightly different pasta shape. Over time you can add more new foods in. We have a post about food jags that talks about adding in new foods. It might be a good starting point. Hope that helps give you some ideas!
We are going through the exact same thing with our 11 year old. Have you made any progress? We’ve just scheduled with a counselor.
I have a child on my caseload that has had multiple surgeries and intubations. His anxiety about swallowing/choking is high, but he’s been cleared for swallowing. I feel it’s become a crutch at this point (not that the anxiety isn’t real, but we’re numerous months past the last surgery). “I don’t want to try that because it’ll make me choke.” And similar behavior with trying other foods as he knows he will get a preferred food at every meal. (Mind you, we’ve been working on this for years. A few steps forward, a few step back). How do you get past that rigidity?
Having that medical piece really makes it harder for a child to “trust” foods and be comfortable with them. I’d try to take very small steps in working on him trusting foods and start with having him play with them a lot. And then working up the phases of interaction to get him comfortable with the food. Also, try to be working on some oral motor activities since he hasn’t had a variety of textures! It can be a slow road, but I hope this helps!
Hi Cali! I’m sorry to hear that you and your 11 yr old are in the same boat. We’ve made some progress and he is eating more and getting the calories he needs now. He still had wobbles but not as bad as it was. The community mental health team have referred him for specialist counselling. My main concern right now is that he goes back to school soon and he finds it harder to eat around more than one or two people so I’m preparing myself for abit of a back pedal when he goes back. I hope you and your lil one get the help you need! I’d just like to say, this whole experience has been extremely draining on all our family so please remember to take time out for yourself!
My 5 year old grandson is an extremely picky eater. He does fall in the category of eating less than 20 foods. He has been seeing a feeding therapist, but hasn’t made much progress. He is always given smaller portions on a small plate. I have noticed quite often, he will just look at his plate with an “overwhelmed” look on his face. Oftentimes he won’t eat or even try anything on his plate. He just says “Ick”. Does this sound like it may be anxiety?
Thanks for reaching out! We understand how this can look like anxiety! I’d try to take a look at other underlying causes to “rule them out” before suggesting that it is pure anxiety. Like suggested in the post, looking at sensory, oral motor and other medical causes first. Take those steps to really determine the cause of picky eating before thinking it is all anxiety! Start with step number 1 in answering the questions and move from there! Hope this helps!
My fiver year old son has multiple if these issues and I am desperately trying to figure out how to help him. He started out with an injury to lip at the age of two requiring stitches and had a horrible experience in removing them and then a three knocked his front tooth out if his mouth. Now prior to this he was a little picky but ate most foods I put in front him. After the two experiences he has become extremely picky probably less than ten foods he will eat and fast forward to five dies have gagging and throwing up eating smelling or seeing good he doesn’t like the smell look or taste of. Even foods he normally would have eating he now not wanting to eat. He literally eats hardly anything I’ve cut snacking almost to nothing. This kid would rather starve himself than try anything. He will occasionally eat grilled cheese he won’t eat PBJ anymore and some crunchy foods he will eat. He refuses fruits meats and veggies. And it seems the very little he will eat is growing less and less every week. Please help.
We can understand your concerns! I’d work on trying to remove the pressure to eat during all meals and snacks. This can help have a powerful effect on what the kids will eat and helps them feel more relaxed at coming you the table. You can watch our FREE WORKSHOP for other tips as well as how to implement them.
My 9 year daughter won’t eat after a choking episode.She will only have a liquid diet.itd been 3 weeks,I’ve tried everything
So sorry you are dealing with this. I’d talk with her to see if you can come up with ideas of foods that she may be interested in trying again. Starting with softer foods and working your way up. Talk her through with what may be helpful for her!