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"Strategies to Enhance Mealtime Behaviors"
Michelle A. Ortega, M.S., CCC-SLP

1. Make a point to set a calm, relaxing tone for the mealtime. Control the lighting, sound and movement in the eating environment.

2. Establish "sitting behaviors."

bullet Make sure the child is in a comfortable, well-supported seat.
bullet Have small fidget toys or books at the table to entice the child to sit.
bullet Make a placemat out of photos or pictures of favorite items and cover it with clear contact paper to give the child something for visual focus.
bullet Start with 5 minute increments (working up to 15 minutes) to encourage success. But... Once the child leaves the table, mealtime is over.

3. Help the child establish regular hunger-satiation cycles by limiting eating to mealtimes and scheduled snacks. Contact your pediatrician to learn about appropriate serving sizes recommended for your child's age.  They are probably smaller than you think.

4. Discontinue all sip-cup use. Discourage your child from walking around with a juice cup in his/her hand. Drinks can by served in flip-top cups with internal straws, juice boxes, or sports bottles with straws on the go.  Open cup drinking should be encouraged at all mealtimes.

5. Some children snack (chew)/drink (suck) for organizational. calming and
arousing purposes. Replace the snacks with other positive oral behaviors. 

bullet Increase frequency of tooth brushing.
bullet Toothbrush with an electric toothbrush.
bullet Allow oral exploration with hand-held massager.
bullet Oral motor toys (whistles, bubble blowers)

(Michelle Ortega was our speaker for our June, 2000 meeting.  She also is Tanner's private Speech & Language Pathologist.  If you found the above information helpful, you may also want to read "Feeding Tips" which was also written by Michelle Ortega.)  

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Send mail to Support with technical questions or comments about this web site. 
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To find your way around the CHERAB part of this site please click here for the index.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead, anthropologist

Send mail to Support with technical questions or comments about this web site. 
Copyright 1998 
Last modified: Friday, June 03, 2005

To find your way around the CHERAB part of this site please click here for the index.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead, anthropologist