Caregiver strategies to support positive mealtimes for kids and families

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Caregiver strategies to support positive mealtimes for kids and families

Mealtimes offer rich opportunities for bonding and interaction between caregivers and kids. With the right mealtime strategies, families can create positive routines that make mealtimes less stressful and more enjoyable. 

The feeding team at Children’s Treatment Network (CTN), in collaboration with Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) from Oak Valley Health (Child Development Programs) and Occupational Therapists (OTs) from York Region Early Intervention Services, is excited to share a Mealtime Adventures video that provides practical and simple strategies to support positive mealtimes. This module was created by engaging both clinical disciplines (SLPs/ OTs) together to share best practices that all families need to know to support their kid’s mealtime and feeding.

This video may  be helpful to parents or caregivers of kids who are picky eaters. It shares general information about picky eating, describes the roles and responsibilities of caregivers and kids during mealtimes, and offers strategies to build enjoyable feeding routines. Through this video, caregivers can learn ways to introduce new foods, encourage food exploration, figure portion sizes, and promote an overall joyful eating experience. 

We hope this video allows caregivers to find easy to use strategies that may support their kid or family in their day-to-day life. If you would like to learn more about the above topics, click on the link below to watch the video!

Check out the video on CTN’s YouTube Channel.

There are various chapters within the video that describe different areas related to building positive mealtime routines. Chapters in the video discuss: 

  • Introduction to the strategies that support positive mealtimes (00:00:00)
  • Picky eating and persistently picky eating (00:00:45)
  • The division of responsibility (00:06:03)
  • Caregiver and child's role in feeding (00:07:00)
  • The importance of routines in positive feeding (00:12:03)
  • Portion sizes (00:14:59)
  • Summary of the information (00:16:25)
Feeding services at CTN are unique and supported by different clinical service providers. CTN’s feeding team in York Region includes SLPs from Oak Valley Health, OTs from York Region Early Intervention Services, and a Registered Dietitian (RD) from Southlake Regional Health Centre. In Simcoe County, the feeding team includes SLPs, OTs and RDs from Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. 

Each member of the feeding team plays an important role supporting families. OTs and SLPs provide assessment and consultation for feeding, including positioning for feeding, self- feeding, sensory feeding issues (e.g., child’s acceptance of textures), chewing, and swallowing abilities. Registered dietitians provide assessment and consultation regarding nutrition, and they may help families to access funding for specialized diets or feeding equipment. These clinicians may be included in training others involved in a kid’s feeding team.

Additional resources to support feeding can be accessed through the below links:
  To learn more about CTN’s feeding services, visit the Feeding Assessment and Consultation Service (FACS) page on our website which outlines services for kids and youth with complex feeding, swallowing, and nutritional concerns.