Thanksgiving is a time for fellowship, food and football. But, like any holiday, prepping for your family’s celebrations can be stressful. Add in children who are reluctant or selective eaters, and this food-focused holiday can become extra challenging for parents. That’s why Kids for the Future’s therapists are serving up some tips to ensure everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving meals:
Host a dress rehearsal: Give children time to prepare for the big day by introducing new food items and table dynamics at a dress rehearsal. You may also want to encourage them to help with meal prep leading up to Thanksgiving.
Incorporate a familiar dish: Whether you’re hosting or contributing to the meal, incorporate a familiar dish you know your children like. Even if they pass over the turkey or casseroles, they’ll still have something at the meal they can eat.
Communicate with guests: Before dinner begins, inform your fellow diners that you won’t be forcing or bribing your kids to consume certain items on Thanksgiving. By not fixating on their eating, you’ll reduce meltdowns and avoid guests’ potentially hurt feelings over untouched food.
Control portion sizes: Thanksgiving plates can be overwhelming. Stick to smaller portion sizes and, to prevent reactions to new tastes or textures, don’t pile foods on top of each other.
Stick to your routine: For many kids, consistency is key. On Thanksgiving, follow your normal routine by serving breakfast and offering children snacks throughout the day. Keeping them hydrated and fed will balance their blood sugar, energy and mood.
If you have questions about your selective or reluctant eater, including strategies you can implement at home, please contact our therapists at 870-633-1737. Happy Thanksgiving!