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Easter is coming. The holiday season is usually associated with meetings with the family and a lavishly set table. Typical Christmas dishes, however, are not our children's favorite delicacies, especially if we have a typical "eater" at home. What may be the reason of reluctance to eat? There may be many reasons for this. Of course, at the beginning it is necessary to rule out possible health reasons, e.g. reflux, deficiencies, e.g. iron, etc. and anatomical causes - defects in the structure of the speech apparatus (then a neurologopedic examination would be advisable).

Another reason for "worse" appetite may be sensory integration disorders of a hypersensitivity nature - they usually concern tactile hypersensitivity in the oral sphere and / or olfactory or taste hypersensitivity, sometimes auditory hypersensitivity is also present. Children with mouth hypersensitivity often find it difficult to eat a particular consistency - some do not like mushy foods, such as cream soups, bananas, yoghurts, and others hard. Very often "fussy eaters" are disturbed by lumps and the uneven structure of the dish - for example, they will eat smooth yogurt, but will not eat yogurt with fruit or flakes. Many children also do not like soups - they only tolerate the so-called clean soups, such as broth or tomato soup, do not like pieces of vegetables floating in the soup.

"Niejadki" also do not like the situation when food comes together on the plate, eg a cutlet or salad with potatoes. Sometimes one of the reasons for the reluctance to eat is olfactory hypersensitivity - it is associated with an excessive reaction to typical smells, and in the case of "poor eaters" it concerns mainly the smell of food. Many children do not tolerate the smell of meat, eggs, fish, so much so that they vomit or become so nervous that their parents are unable to cook dinner at home. Children who are hypersensitive to tastes, on the other hand, usually choose mild, sometimes even bland, dishes, often do not tolerate very expressive tastes, or eat only a few selected foods whose taste suits them. In turn, children who are hypersensitive to hearing in the context of eating, are often disturbed by eating crunchy - so they will not want to eat, for example, sticks, hard biscuits, hard fruits such as apples, or vegetables - raw carrots or peppers.

Some of the dietary preferences are considered "frills" of children. Meanwhile, the preferences of children should be respected and absolutely not forced to eat if we see reluctance and resistance, because in this way we can only discourage the child from eating more. We should remember about it, especially during the holiday season, and let us always have our child's favorite dish up his sleeve, so that he does not feel pressure to eat what other household members have to eat. In case of problems with sensory eating, it is worth going to a sensory integration therapist or a therapist specializing in feeding therapy (these are usually speech therapists, neurological therapists, SI therapists).


Anna Chacińska

special educator, specialist in sensory integration