Partnering with Parents in the Kitchen: Strategies for the Picky Eater

Partnering with Parents in the Kitchen: Strategies for the Picky Eater


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Speaker: Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP

Course Description

This seminar provides concrete, practical tools to professionals and parents, to help children who struggle with eating.

Parents of kids with feeding disorders face challenges at breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time. They often spend the day worried about how much their child will consume, unsure of how to help them learn to eat more variety and concerned about the child’s nutritional health. Studies have shown that as parental stress increases, positive parent-child interactions decrease. Yet, a consistent, positive feeding relationship between parent and child is essential to making progress in feeding therapy.

Providers and professionals who treat children for feeding difficulties want to know how to support both the child and the family with practical strategies within the family’s everyday routines. What approach can parents take that will provide them with steps to bring joy back to the family table while the child’s feeding development improves over time? A child’s relationship with food always influences family dynamics and a family-centered approach to treatment is essential to achieve progress in feeding skills, whether the child is “just a picky eater” or has been diagnosed with a pediatric feeding disorder.  

Learning Outcomes

The participant will be able to:

1. Describe specific strategies for common mealtime challenges, including teaching a child to enjoy sitting at the table, interact with food via play and participating in mealtime routines. 

2. Identify activities and routines throughout a child's meals or snack times to support treatment strategies. 

3. Communicate with and assist parents to address challenging behaviors one at a time in a positive manner, building success in treatment gradually.

Timed Agenda

Hours One and Two

10 min  Important Introductions to Course Concepts & Resources
15 min  Research & Results of Food Exposures
15 min  Feeding Therapy & Family Dynamics
20 min  Parent Joyfully: Keeping Interactions Positive
20 min  Parent Compassionately: Stepping into the Child’s Shoes
20 min  Parent Bravely: Strategies for Driving Hunger and Setting Boundaries
20 min  Parent Patiently: Knowing When and How to Wait

Hours Three and Four

30 min - Parent Proactively:

  • Understanding How to Support Gross and Fine Motor Skills
  • Adapting Food

30 min  - Parent consistently with strategies for consistent practice at mealtimes
30 min  - Parent Mindfully:

  • Spoon Feeding
  • Mealtime Mindset

30 min  - Strategies for Implementing the Three E’s: Expose, Explore, Expand

  • Understanding a Child’s Sensory System & Eating Skills
  • Sensory Considerations in the Kitchen
  • Anxiety: How to Cope
  • Lunch Packing for Hesitant Eaters
  • Closing Remarks


Content Disclosure: This presentation will focus on treatment methods related to the use of TalkTools® resources. Other similar treatment approaches will receive limited or no coverage during this lecture.

TalkTools®️ is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. Provider #: 3392. This self-study course is offered at 4 contact hours or 0.4 CEUs, introductory level, in the categories of OT Service Delivery and Foundational Knowledge. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.


see TalkTools ASHA CEU Policy and Process for more information)

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