6 Preschool- and School-Age Children: Development and Eating Behaviors Social developmentYounger children commonly dawdle during mealtime; older children are often in a hurry to finish and return to their activities.They imitate the food preferences of others.Older children are often eager to try new foods.
7 Supporting Positive Feeding Practices Adults are responsible only for providing nutritious foods and meals for children to eat.Follow MyPlate recommendations(Figure 16-1;Consider variety, flavor, texture, color, and temperature when planning meals (Figure 16-2 and 16-3).Top Image: myplate.gov
8 Supporting Positive Feeding Practices Children determine what they will eat and how much food they are willing to eat.Serving sizes should be appropriate for child’s age.Expect skipped meals and picky eating.Avoid letting children fill up on milk if they won’t eat.Respecting these roles reduces power struggles and helps children develop trust and independence.
9 Supporting Positive Feeding Practices Children are in the process of establishing lifelong eating and activity habits, so it is important to:Be a positive role model.Encourage children to try new foods and activities.Watch this beautiful story for children by clicking on the link:It is most important that very young children be exposed to a variety of foods and encouraged to choose nutrient‑dense foods because lifelong eating habits are believed to be determined by the age of five years.
11 Children with Special Feeding Needs Children who have developmental delays or medical conditions may also have special feeding needs. They:May not recognize when they are hungry or not be able to express hungerHave a tendency to overeatAre more prone to chokingMay be taking medication that interferes with nutrient absorption or increases the need for certain nutrientsHave an increased tendency toward food allergies
14 SnacksSnacks can make a positive contribution to children’s diets by supplying nutrients that may be lacking.Snacks should be nutrient-dense foods. High-fat, high-sugar items fill children up but also replace essential nutrients.This is a good time to introduce new foods for children to try.Avoid letting children eat whenever they are hungry.
18 Case StudyMaria, age 7 years, is new to the community and has recently enrolled in your after-school program. She and her parents speak Portuguese, but very little English. The other children are intrigued with Maria and her “different” language. They eagerly attempt to teach her some English words by pointing to and repeating the names of foods and objects with exaggerated clarity. Although Maria seems to enjoy their attention and is responding to their efforts, you (teacher) are concerned that she still eats very little during snack time.
19 Case Study QuestionsWhy should you be concerned that Maria is not eating?What steps can you take to learn more about her family’s food preferences?Where might you access information about foods and food preferences native to Maria’s culture?Where might you access materials to aid in Maria’s care and your ability to communicate with her family?Where might you locate an interpreter for assistance?ANSWERS TO CASE STUDYMaria is an active, growing child and, as a result, her nutrient needs are significant. Long periods without food can lead to hunger, low blood sugar, fatigue, and increased risk of unintentional injury. Healthy snacks can necessary to help meet her critical nutrient needs. In addition, eating also has social significance and may hasten her assimilation into the group.Locating an interpreter who can converse with Maria’s family would be helpful in attempting to learn about her food preferences. Maria may also be able to point out her favorite foods in magazine pictures.You might conduct an Internet search, locate books about the Portuguese culture at the library, or read through cookbooks to determine some preferred foods.Check with the local library or on the Internet. There may also be a similar cultural group in the community that could assist with Maria’s communication needs. Health departments and hospitals often have materials available in multiple languages.Check with the local high school, community college, or university language departments. Local health departments or churches with culturally diverse congregations may also be able to provide lists of persons who can serve as interpreters.