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5 yo doesn't know how to eat independently -- help needed

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Up until now I actually didn't give any thought to it. I don't know. It didn't bother me. But, now we are starting KG in Sep. I am getting all worked up now and not much is working as dd just doesn't know how to feed herself. She will eat pizza and cereal and oatmeal and that sort of stuff independently so I always thought she knows how to. We wasted a couple of meals recently, got hard poop too because I refused to help. We have held her hands and helped her to eat once but aren't progressing.

post #2 of 26

So she can eat finger food and spoon food? What can't she eat without help?

post #3 of 26

I guess I'm showing my ignorance but what is KG?

post #4 of 26

KG = kindergarten

 

Unless she has some sort of larger issue - sensory, neurological, etc. she should be able to feed herself. If she can eat feed herself pizza she can feed herself and sandwich, a roll up, cut up fruit/veggie. If she can eat cereal she can eat soup, applesauce, cottage cheese, yogurt. I think there are alot of things you can pack easily for her to eat at school. What about if you put the things she won't feed herself in a bowl and she eats with a spoon?
 

post #5 of 26

I almost never have to send a fork with my 8 year old's lunch, maybe a couple of times a month.  Send pizza!  And some grapes.  If you guys eat meat, meatballs are a great lunchbox food that're easy to eat.  But I bet it won't be long before she's feeding herself all kinds of stuff.

post #6 of 26
If you truly believe she can't feed herself then you should get her into a pediatrician and get the appropriate referrals ASAP. Most one year olds can eat finger food on their own and by three spoon and fork use is mastered. If at five she truly can't use utensils then she may have some serious fine motor issues that need to be dealt with.

If it is behavioral then it will most likely end once she is in school and around kids who are independent.
post #7 of 26

sounds like she is used to having help to me.  She will learn.  :)

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

So she can eat finger food and spoon food? What can't she eat without help?

 The other day it was fried rice with tiny bits of vegetables, so I gave her a spoon. Her dad then gave her a knife to get the rice into the spoon. For pasta, I give her a fork.

post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbjmama View Post

KG = kindergarten

 

Unless she has some sort of larger issue - sensory, neurological, etc. she should be able to feed herself. If she can eat feed herself pizza she can feed herself and sandwich, a roll up, cut up fruit/veggie. If she can eat cereal she can eat soup, applesauce, cottage cheese, yogurt. I think there are alot of things you can pack easily for her to eat at school. What about if you put the things she won't feed herself in a bowl and she eats with a spoon?
 

Most of the time she doesn't like her meals. She likes ahem junk food like pizza, so I began making it at home with whole wheat. A whole grain bread sandwich also takes her forever to eat. I think I should've mentioned it depends on how 'boring' the food is. She just procrastinates even though she might know how to eat it.

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peaceful_mama View Post

sounds like she is used to having help to me.  She will learn.  :)

Yes. That is indeed the issue. But I went cold turkey, and she almost didnt' eat anything and got constipated. So, I am not sure what to do. If I hlep her even a little, she keeps whining for more help.

post #11 of 26

At school she won't have help. She won't miss 3 meals a day, she will miss one. I'm not sure what food is considered boring, maybe she prefers spicy food or dipping, something like that? I think you can cater a little to get her through eating at school.

 

Does she have any other problems with fine motor skills? Can she hold a pencil, draw, write her name?

 

Have you thought about some sessions for her/family therapy. This could turn into a life issue with food at the center.
 

post #12 of 26

It is solely a choice on her part because she would rather have the help rather then an OT issue then I see two options. Start working on it slowly over the summer or she will probably earn it at school. She might be hungry for a while, but peer influence might be good. 

post #13 of 26

So it really is more of a won't than a can't. If rice is a problem, make sticky rice or risotto (stick together better and are easier to spoon). Pasta? Soe types are easier than others - choose a different shape. Sandwiches are easy to eat. Make your own chicken fingers. You don't have to be a short order cook, but you also don't have to cook things you know she doesn't like  I used to saute chicken, then set it aside for the kids while I ade a sauce for myself. Same with pasta. They liked it plain w/butter. I liked it with some type of sauce. Easy to accomodate both tastes. And so on and so forth. Stroganoff - sauteed thinly sliced beef, set some aside for them, finished the rest for myself.

 

But stop enabling her. Because that is what you're doing.

post #14 of 26

I don't really think this is an issue. If she has fine motor problems, they will pick that up at school real quick. If she doesn't, she is very likely going to feed herself because she's sitting at a table with other kids who are all feeding themselves and that is simply what is expected. You can still feed her at home if you like, or not, but I'll bet its not going to be an issue at school.

post #15 of 26

She wont let herself starve. YOUR job is to prepare healthy meals for her. HER job is to eat it. If she passes then she goes hungry for a while but I promise she wont let herself starve. As others said with no real problems that need to be addressed with PT then it's stage. Annoying and frustrating but it will pass.

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I am hoping she will eat when with other kids because she does have issues when her blood sugar level drops. She goes pretty crazy if she is hungry and that is my only fear. I am not so worried if she went hungry as much as how she will handle her state.

post #17 of 26

I lost my earlier post. It sounds like she doesn't have the organization skills to do it.

 

I was worried about this when DS started preschool but he adapted quickly. Of course, that was far more sheltered than K with a strict food policy and an adult at every table.

 

I'd suggest eating a meal out of the house each day, perhaps lunch at the park. Pack all of the compentents for a healthy lunch plus a snack for each of you and make her responsible for it. You can help with things like opening a water bottle but that is it. If she doesn't eat, she can be hungry. Pack things that are likely to appeal to her and that don't take a super long time to eat. Pack small portions that aren't scary.  If she gets hungry, she can go to her lunch/snack bucket and eat something from it.

 

Neither of my kids really like sandwhiches so those are rarely packed. DS likes what he refers to as a "real lunch" which is packed in a thermos.

 

So, repetition will help. Familiarity with implements will help. Also, eating from the thermos linked is actually easier than a bowl. The high sides help with control.

 

Lunches from the last week that I can recall:

 

Lamb burger lunch- lamb burger with grilled zuccini, tomato, cherry tomatoes, and half of a lamb burger dressed with a little olive oil and not spicy harissa

cut up cucumbers

cherries with the pits and stems removed

water

 

whole wheat pasta with meat and vegetable rich marinara

cheese (not very much protein in the pasta dish)

blueberries

pretzels

water

 

hummus and pita

carrots

applesauce

strawberries

water

 

fried brown rice

cheese

dried cherries

pineapple

water

 

chili mac (whole wheat elbows with a very mild. tomaty-chili with meat and beans)

dried seaweed

apple slices

water

 

cheese tortelleni with tomato sauce

cucumber salad

cherries

water

 

leftover homemade pizza, wrapped in foil

trail mix

raspberries

water

 

small empenada from an Argentine place, wrapped in foil

cherry tomatoes

pineapple

water

 

We use these:

 

Lunch bag, easy to open with a single zipper http://www.amazon.com/Crocodile-Creek-Pocket-Lunchbox-Butterfly/dp/B00262DCVY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1338839911&sr=8-2

 

Sigg Water bottle with a reasonably easy to open top

 

Great size for kids http://www.amazon.com/Thermos-Foogo-Leak-Proof-Stainless-10-Ounce/dp/B000O3GCFU/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1338839954&sr=1-1

 

2 4 oz small containers for fruit, crackers, or goodies like dried cherries. Great to use the same size every day because it helps with portion control http://www.amazon.com/GladWare-Mini-Round-8-ct/dp/B0030HTZTM/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1338840053&sr=1-1

 

utensils, plus a napkin that is really a baby washcloth

 

Occasionally use a reusable snack bag for bulky items or sandwiches

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post

I don't really think this is an issue. If she has fine motor problems, they will pick that up at school real quick. If she doesn't, she is very likely going to feed herself because she's sitting at a table with other kids who are all feeding themselves and that is simply what is expected. You can still feed her at home if you like, or not, but I'll bet its not going to be an issue at school.

This.  She will not need to be helped in school.  Just give her a chance and set her up for success now, and stop helping her.  

 

If there really is an issue with her fine motor skills, more problems will show up.  If she can't cut with scissors by now, or draw, in addition to having a hard time working silverware, I'd worry.  If she's fine with scissors, can open her glue, and draw, I think there's just a learning curve, and she will eat like a champ in school.  (just don't send her with anything messy)

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neera View Post

Thanks. I am hoping she will eat when with other kids because she does have issues when her blood sugar level drops. She goes pretty crazy if she is hungry and that is my only fear. I am not so worried if she went hungry as much as how she will handle her state.


As weird as it sounds, when my DD's blood sugar drops due to being hungry, she refuses to eat (the one thing that would solve the problem immediately) and her mood worsens. Could this be playing a part? Maybe make sure she is getting some type of protein with every meal and snack. That is what finally put a stop to my own low blood sugar episodes.

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neera View Post

Thanks. I am hoping she will eat when with other kids because she does have issues when her blood sugar level drops. She goes pretty crazy if she is hungry and that is my only fear. I am not so worried if she went hungry as much as how she will handle her state.

My ds would go crazy, too, if he needed to eat. And he wasn't good at recognizing he was hungry, either. If he got too hungry, it was better to give him whatever junky thing he was asking for and follow it up with something more nutritious because if he was too hungry, he'd just refuse to eat anything else. If I could get him to eat before he was too hungry, he was more reasonable. The good news is he grew out of this. But it was bad at 4 and 5. School will probably work out fine, though. They usually have snack times and my ds would sit and eat when the other kids were eating. It was mostly just hard getting him to eat breakfast beforehand.

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