Teaching my son to bite and chew his food
- Parent to 9 year old with oral issues, attention deficit, and social challenges
Until my son was 5 he could not bite or chew very well, so I gave him a lot of ‘mashed’ foods. We started teaching him this skill by first introducing fruit leather. Even if he swallowed some pieces, it would not be harmful, so we practiced with fruit leather type of snacks. We also tried ripe fruit, then gradually more firm fruit. We introduced granola bars. At first it would be a mess, and he would take forever to finish a small piece. He would try to use his tongue more than his teeth. Gradually, he was able to eat the whole granola bar in a reasonable time. Then I introduced food with 2 different textures – like pasta with bits of broccoli, or soup with small carrot chunks. I started offering him fruit salad instead of a bowl of just 1 type of fruit. He loves fruit so even though in the beginning he would try to finish first all the strawberry chunks, then the bananas, etc. later he started eating without following this order, in a mixed fashion. Then we started working on sandwiches. All he could eat was jelly sandwiches, for a while. Lately, we started giving him a sandwich with just lettuce and cheese. He takes a long time to finish it, but he does enjoy it. Our ultimate goal is to get him to eat one of those multi-layered sandwich, like a Subway sandwich. We are still far from it, but will get there gradually. That would really help a lot when we go out as a family,or go out with a group of friends, or travel.
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