Children and picky eating

Is your child a picky eater?

You can expect a young child to have picky eating habits when trying new foods. But where do you draw the line between its something they will grow out of and when to seek help? The term picky eaters can mean several different things. There are average picky eaters and extreme picky eaters. When you are dealing with an extreme picky eater, you may want to seek outside sources.

picky eater

What is Considered Extreme Picky Eating?

If your child has several of these habits, they could be an extreme picky eater.

  • They will only eat when hand fed by someone
  • They won’t eat food in social settings, prepared by someone else
  • Will only eat when distracted
  • Unable to eat with a group due to extreme meal pickiness
  • Has five to twenty foods in their diet
  • Food must be prepped very specifically and cannot have certain traits (color, shapes, flavors)
  • Your child would starve before trying new foods
  • Gagging or vomiting at the sight or smell of new foods

These are extreme responses to foods and should be considered red flags. If you recognize several of these traits in your child, seeking help may be the best decision. If these traits are ignored, they may get worse over time. These traits can also follow the child into adulthood.

Extreme picky eating can be an inconvenience to many parents. More importantly, it can be dangerous for a child. Not getting proper nutrients and calories can affect their health and development.

Where should I look for Help?

First, start by talking to your child’s pediatrician. They can help determine if your child is failing to thrive. According to Johns Hopkins, failure to thrive is infants or children who have a height, weight and head circumference that do not match standard growth charts. The person’s weight falls lower than the third percentile (as outlined in standard growth charts) or 20 percent below the ideal weight for their height.

There are numerous methods and resources available to help your child’s picky eating habits. There are workshops, online support groups, online feeding therapists, and credentialed bloggers who have excellent advice.