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Old 07-13-2016, 03:08 PM
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Default Extreme Case of Picky Eating - Long, Need Advice!

I have a 3.5 year old girl in my care who is the most extreme case of picky eating I have ever seen or heard of. She has been with me full time for just over two months, and I expected at least some improvement by now. She literally eats NOTHING for me most days. If she ever eats, it's one or two bites of snack, and ONLY if it's a junky snack like Cheez-its. I pride myself on the quality of food I serve in my program. I follow the food program and go above and beyond with fresh organic produce, non-GMO, a very nice, wide variety of different foods, etc. All of the other kids eat great for me and say I make the best food ever!

Mom says previous provider would yell at her and make her eat and she's just traumatized. That got me right in the gut, and so I made extra efforts not to push her to eat anything, I wanted her to feel safe and happy here. I assured Mom that seeing the other kids eating, and not making a big deal out of food would have her doing better in no time. I continue to update mom with the lack of progress. She says her daughter will eat only pizza, grilled chz, chic nuggets, PB&J, Mac n chz for them at home. She also claims she likes apples and bananas but says she does give her baby food squeeze pouches to get her fruits and veggies. I told her that my training and experience has shown me that not giving those familiar fall-back options as a back-up if she doesn't eat the healthy stuff is very important. I gently explained that she won't starve if she's not given the power to choose what she’s served at mealtimes, that she should be eating mostly everything her parents eat by this age. I laughingly reminded her that no mom wants to be a short-order cook, and that some kids just give us more of a challenge.

The foods her mom said she will eat, I consider junk food and are special treats here at daycare. I serve "real" homemade mac and cheese only, never the boxed stuff with powdered cheese. She won't eat it. I serve cheese pizza occasionally on a Friday and she won't eat it. I serve chicken nuggets rarely, but the best she's done with those is eating 1.5 nuggets once for me. She will not eat my grilled cheese or PB&J (PB&J only offered once when peanut allergy kid was absent). She has never touched an apple slice or banana for me, and I serve those a lot. I feel that a child her age is too old to be eating baby food, and I do not do special-order cooking here. I have brought up again the importance of offering her a variety of healthy foods at home, it seems to just go in mom's ear and out the other. I took it a step further and told her exactly what to try at home: have her eat two bites of something like grapes or corn before she's given any of the foods she supposedly eats for them. Make it clear that unless she eats two bites of X food first, the meal is over and they can try again later. If she refuses, stand firm, let her get hungry enough to eat the good stuff. "Ok, good idea, we'll try it" was all I got after that, which was 2 weeks ago and it's clear they aren't following through.

I even tried giving all the kids fruit snacks today at snack, something I've never served at daycare, to see if she’d eat THAT. Everyone (including her) was excited! Other kids wolfed them down, she took one look at them and said she didn't like that particular kind. I'm so tired of throwing food away. I always serve her smaller portions of what everyone else is eating, with no pressure. I just gather her untouched plate at the end of the mealtime and dump it, which is starting to wear on me! The other kids actually try to convince her to try things, she just sits there at the table and stares blankly during all meal and snack times. She only ate one bite of a cupcake at a recent birthday celebration we had. Mom says she eats and eats once she gets home, but sounds like it's just the junk still. She sent a baby food squeeze pouch in her backpack last week, but I have a strict policy against outside food or beverages so I had to remind them that's not allowed.

How is this kid ever going to get over the picky eating if they keep refusing to set limits/expectations for her? What can I do? She doesn’t appear to be malnourished - if she did, I would have more of a reason to be alarmed about nutritional neglect. Is there anything I can do, or just accept that she won’t eat anything for the 40 hours she’s here each week? What would you do?
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Old 07-13-2016, 03:23 PM
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I would ask mom if she plans on continuing to feed her junk after daycare. (Well I'd say "do you plan on continuing to cater to her limited item diet? Because if you keep buying the non nutritional foods she insists on eating, she will never need to choose a healthier option)
And leave it up to mom.
If she eats at daycare, she eats. If not, mom will feed her at pickup.
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Old 07-13-2016, 03:41 PM
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Welcome to the forum. We have more thread on picky eaters: http://www.daycare.com/forum/tags.php?tag=picky+eater
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:04 PM
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Do what you do at dc, let dcm do what she does at home. Dcg will survive. All 3 of my own kids were picky eaters, they'll eat anything now. They're not little forever. I posted something similar to this and someone suggested for me to make no issue about it, especially in front of dcg. I feed her things I know she will eat(such as peas, hummus, cheese, yogurt) but I also feed lots of different stuff I know she won't eat. I have 2 dcgs that are extremely fussy. One of them is trying tiny bites of this or that occasionally, the other one absolutely refuses. So be it.
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Old 07-13-2016, 06:13 PM
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Just put the food out and don't mention it. It's hard, I know. Some children seem to survive on air, others seem to have huge apoetites. I don't always consider it picky eating. They could very well just not enjoy eating. Mom may be giving her the pouches just to get food into her. It's not a battle.
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Old 07-13-2016, 06:19 PM
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I had a 3 yr old boy who would eat nothing but meat. His mom told me when he started not to worry about it and he'd eat once home. He'd only eat things like pork chops, roast turkey or beef roast-no hamburger.

He never once touched any food at my house! He wouldn't eat fruit, Mac n cheese, snacks....nothing.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:48 PM
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All you can do is serve it. It's up to her if she wants to eat it or not. One thing I do, though, is OCCASIONALLY offer dessert to children who eat their meals (they don't have to eat it all, but they do have to eat SOME of it). That snapped my picky eater out of his year long hunger strike. He spent several days with us recently, and I had to send his mom photos of him eating the lettuce salad that he ASKED for, as well as him eating homemade onion straws one night (and he knew there were onions in there!). He eats burgers here (won't at home), he eats broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, etc. with gusto. At home, NO veggies. None. They give him what he wants and that's it. I don't bully him to eat, I don't beg him to eat, just put it down and walk away. I DO make him stay at the table whether he eats or not, until everyone is finished (which I think helps encourage them to try foods). I DO also announce before lunch if there is to be a treat after lunch for those who eat their meal.
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Old 07-13-2016, 08:20 PM
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When I first started doing day care, I often worried about the picky eaters in my care. When I joined the food program, I learned that my job is to prepare and serve healthy food. It's the kids' job to choose to eat or not. It took away so much of the stress and worry for me.

One of my dc kids was so picky, she refused to eat anything I gave her for the entire 5 years she was in my care. Once she got home, she was given the junk foods she liked. Not much you can do when the parents cater to them.
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Old 07-13-2016, 08:52 PM
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I try and remember - once I serve the food it will either end up in a tummy or the garbage. I try not to care which. Either way it's gone.
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Controlled Chaos View Post
I try and remember - once I serve the food it will either end up in a tummy or the garbage. I try not to care which. Either way it's gone.
Plus serve the littlest portion possible so you're only throwing away 1 cucumber slice or red pepper strip. A tablespoon of noodles, etc.
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:51 AM
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It could also be an anxiety issue. Is she a shy person in general? If so, try serving her meals where it's quiet and give her longer to eat it (30-45 minutes).
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:48 AM
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All very good advice so far, thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. She is a shy child. She's also VERY coddled by her parents. They bend over backwards for her all the time, and it's even translated into having trouble following some of my policies because they won't say no to her (she brings toys from home on days other than sharing day, brings more than 2 things to sleep with, etc.). The one that drives me nuts is when they come pick her up lately, she says she wants to stay and play and Mom says "okay" and just sits and chats while she plays. I put up with that just one time, then the next day I was the one who said "no, DCG, it's time to go because it's pick-up time and mom is here, we'll play more tomorrow!"
I just wish parents these days weren't so afraid to parent and set boundaries. It's like they're genuinely afraid their child will stop loving them if they don't like what they have to say!
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoShrinkingViolet View Post
I have a 3.5 year old girl in my care who is the most extreme case of picky eating I have ever seen or heard of. She has been with me full time for just over two months, and I expected at least some improvement by now. She literally eats NOTHING for me most days. If she ever eats, it's one or two bites of snack, and ONLY if it's a junky snack like Cheez-its. I pride myself on the quality of food I serve in my program. I follow the food program and go above and beyond with fresh organic produce, non-GMO, a very nice, wide variety of different foods, etc. All of the other kids eat great for me and say I make the best food ever!

Mom says previous provider would yell at her and make her eat and she's just traumatized. That got me right in the gut, and so I made extra efforts not to push her to eat anything, I wanted her to feel safe and happy here. I assured Mom that seeing the other kids eating, and not making a big deal out of food would have her doing better in no time. I continue to update mom with the lack of progress. She says her daughter will eat only pizza, grilled chz, chic nuggets, PB&J, Mac n chz for them at home. She also claims she likes apples and bananas but says she does give her baby food squeeze pouches to get her fruits and veggies. I told her that my training and experience has shown me that not giving those familiar fall-back options as a back-up if she doesn't eat the healthy stuff is very important. I gently explained that she won't starve if she's not given the power to choose what she’s served at mealtimes, that she should be eating mostly everything her parents eat by this age. I laughingly reminded her that no mom wants to be a short-order cook, and that some kids just give us more of a challenge.

The foods her mom said she will eat, I consider junk food and are special treats here at daycare. I serve "real" homemade mac and cheese only, never the boxed stuff with powdered cheese. She won't eat it. I serve cheese pizza occasionally on a Friday and she won't eat it. I serve chicken nuggets rarely, but the best she's done with those is eating 1.5 nuggets once for me. She will not eat my grilled cheese or PB&J (PB&J only offered once when peanut allergy kid was absent). She has never touched an apple slice or banana for me, and I serve those a lot. I feel that a child her age is too old to be eating baby food, and I do not do special-order cooking here. I have brought up again the importance of offering her a variety of healthy foods at home, it seems to just go in mom's ear and out the other. I took it a step further and told her exactly what to try at home: have her eat two bites of something like grapes or corn before she's given any of the foods she supposedly eats for them. Make it clear that unless she eats two bites of X food first, the meal is over and they can try again later. If she refuses, stand firm, let her get hungry enough to eat the good stuff. "Ok, good idea, we'll try it" was all I got after that, which was 2 weeks ago and it's clear they aren't following through.

I even tried giving all the kids fruit snacks today at snack, something I've never served at daycare, to see if she’d eat THAT. Everyone (including her) was excited! Other kids wolfed them down, she took one look at them and said she didn't like that particular kind. I'm so tired of throwing food away. I always serve her smaller portions of what everyone else is eating, with no pressure. I just gather her untouched plate at the end of the mealtime and dump it, which is starting to wear on me! The other kids actually try to convince her to try things, she just sits there at the table and stares blankly during all meal and snack times. She only ate one bite of a cupcake at a recent birthday celebration we had. Mom says she eats and eats once she gets home, but sounds like it's just the junk still. She sent a baby food squeeze pouch in her backpack last week, but I have a strict policy against outside food or beverages so I had to remind them that's not allowed.

How is this kid ever going to get over the picky eating if they keep refusing to set limits/expectations for her? What can I do? She doesn’t appear to be malnourished - if she did, I would have more of a reason to be alarmed about nutritional neglect. Is there anything I can do, or just accept that she won’t eat anything for the 40 hours she’s here each week? What would you do?
It's a battle your not going to win. Take the control out of it. Give her a small plate if she eats that serve her more. Put her next to a good eater. She doesn't want to eat....she doesn't eat. Your job is to serve her, her job is to choose what she eats and how much, even if she eats nothing at all. (Unless she was not thriving or medical reasons) Don't go above and beyond to serve junk food to see if she will eat it. Don't take it personally. If junk food is the staple at home your not going to change that. It is probably what the mom knows. You can send home information sheets on healthy eating. I don't even do the take one bite rule. I think you will find when you take out the "control" aspect on both ends of the spectrum the eating will become a non issue for not only the child but also you. It does stink when you provide good food and the kids will not eat it and you try to share good nutrition. Best advice I have for you is to let it go-
3cents
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoShrinkingViolet View Post
All very good advice so far, thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. She is a shy child. She's also VERY coddled by her parents. They bend over backwards for her all the time, and it's even translated into having trouble following some of my policies because they won't say no to her (she brings toys from home on days other than sharing day, brings more than 2 things to sleep with, etc.). The one that drives me nuts is when they come pick her up lately, she says she wants to stay and play and Mom says "okay" and just sits and chats while she plays. I put up with that just one time, then the next day I was the one who said "no, DCG, it's time to go because it's pick-up time and mom is here, we'll play more tomorrow!"
I just wish parents these days weren't so afraid to parent and set boundaries. It's like they're genuinely afraid their child will stop loving them if they don't like what they have to say!
have toys picked up before Mom arrives and child ready to go home. Tell Mom, no- No Mom it is time to go home.

Parents forget we have a life outside of daycare. Come the end of the day I am itching to be done so that I can move along with things that I want to do. I love the kids when I am working but when I am not I love my time and my family. I have something to this wording in my policy book and stress this at interviews and in newsletters home. The parents forget because they are so busy in there own lives and jobs. They don't think about the things that we do, anymore then me thinking about what they are doing and how it effects them in their jobs.

3cents
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Old 07-16-2016, 05:27 AM
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I am a little late to the conversation but both the speech and occupational therapists I worked with told me that picky eaters fall into two categories: picky and problem. Picky eaters won't starve themselves and traditional methods of repeatedly offering healthy options tend to work. Problem eaters would starve themselves and those methods tend not to work. Here is a good article that talks about it a little more.

http://www.speechlanguagefeeding.com...-eaters-might/

Given the child's negative history with the previous provider and the extremely limited number of foods, it sounds more like a feeding problem that the parent may need outside help with at this point.
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