As a parent, have you ever thought to yourself “I wish there were some practical tools out there to help me feed my kids!”? Look no further! I will show you my top 4 favorites that are on the walls and in my cabinets at my therapy clinic!
1. Today I Ate a Rainbow Kit
I coach parents to teach their children about fruits & vegetables rather than to “force” or “sneak-in” fruits & veggies. To facilitate this learning process, I highly recommend this interactive product called Today I Ate a Rainbow.
I use the Rainbow chart in a variety of different ways at my feeding clinic, but here are a few examples. For my kids with mild aversions to fruits and vegetables I use the chart as a fun way for them to have control over what will go on their plate and in their belly! For children with moderate aversions to fruits and veggies, I utilize the chart to celebrate their curiosity of taking a bite! A magnet on the chart is happily represented by any bite size or attempt.
For my clients with severe aversions to fruits and vegetables, I use the chart to encourage them to smell or hold a piece of produce. The magnets are utilized as visual cues to decrease their anxiety and boost their confidence of overcoming their food fears. I am always surprised by the charm of this chart, when these kiddos slowly become more comfortable with produce and suddenly take a bite!
I even use it with my kids who are tube-fed (being nourished by a tube surgically inserted in their stomach). I incorporate the chart, as a way for them to choose which colored foods will be blended into their tube feeding!
The kit also includes other tools: magnets that are vibrant in color and come in a variety of shapes that are easy for little hands to manipulate, a color-coded grocery list that encourages children to be more involved in food buying decisions, a book called The Rainbow Bunch which features a rhyming story that portrays the effects of not eating colorful produce as well as emphasizing the benefits of eating fruit and veggies on a daily basis, and a bookmark to remind kids to eat well while encouraging reading. Using these tools your child can be rainbow kid too!
Today I Ate a Rainbow.com
2. Maroon Spoons
These maroon colored spoons help children with feeding challenges such as poor lip closure, tongue thrusting and oral hypersensitivity. They fit effortlessly into a child’s mouth, which makes it easier for them to remove the food from the shallow bowl of the spoon. They are lightweight, so kids can be more independent in feeding themselves for longer periods of time without fatigue. The food slides off the spoon without difficulty, which makes less of a mess and helps the child feel more successful! I love my maroon spoons!
TalkTools.com – Maroon-Spoon Set
3. Copy-Kids Video
This DVD is a must when trying to introduce a new fruit or a vegetable. I love the fact that you can select what color of food you want to learn about!
Once you have chosen your produce, have that fruit or veggie ready so you can watch your child not only engage with the video but with the new food too! This innovative tool is geared for parents to help encourage healthy eating in their children. But my clients ASK to watch a section of the DVD! Better yet, they ASK their parents to make sure they buy more produce when they go to the store!
I personally utilize this video as a therapy tool to promote positive feelings about fruits and veggies. You can’t help but laugh and smile at these little ones exploring and performing food play! Most of my client’s have been forced to try foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Thus, they associate negative emotions with these foods. This video changes their attitude towards eating, allows them to become willing to at least try, and gradually become- a copy kid!
4. Flexi-Cut Cup
This cup has one side of it cut out, to allow room for the child’s cute little nose to fit into the cup. That’s why I personally call this a nosey-cup! I adore this cup for beginning drinkers because the smallest cup only holds 1 oz (there are 3 sizes), which is a perfect size if spilling occurs. I also like that this cup is semitransparent so I can see how much liquid is consumed with each sip, and provide verbal feedback to the child. The cup is also flexible and easy for little hands to manipulate and use.
But most of all, I use this cup because it keeps the child’s head in a safe position for drinking and reducing the risk of liquids going into their little lungs! If a child tilt’s their head back while drinking, it opens up their airway and we don’t want that! This cup facilitated drinking without head extension and keeps our little ones safe while exploring liquids! I use my nosey cups in almost every feeding therapy session!
Amazon.com – Flexi-Cut-Cups
I hope these amazing products will be a good resource for you and your family as they are for me, and the hundreds of children I lovingly serve. Feeding is suppose to be fun and these products help increase safety, education and amusement for all! Do you have experience with one of these awesome products? Please share!