Info from Marsha Dunn Klein! I use these bite charts in therapy and found this to be so helpful with our anxious eaters. I copy the charts and send them home with our kids for practice!
Bite Size Discretion Tips
This is a chart we use with little ones when we are helping them work on bite sizes. The friendly animal size changes provide cute size contrasts that children understand. For many worried eaters, we start with the tiniest Mouse Bites. For a while I used toothpick to create the tiniest of Mouse Bites, but when a child one day liked the taste and plopped the whole toothpick in his mouth, chewed it up and swallowed it, I decided NO MORE TOOTHPICKS. I now use coffee stirrers.
Some of our most worried eaters start out with the tiniest flavor on their lips. I describe the flavor as the taste they get from rubbing the coffee stirrer on a cucumber or apple. They get flavor only and not texture. We can dip the coffee stirrer in broth, juice or rub it on any piece of food that will not also have texture. (Ex. an orange, watermelon, piece of carrot or celery, pork chop, burger, or bacon). This is just an introduction to the taste without the worrisome texture. We encourage them to rub the stirrer on their lips (Which one do you think, the top lip or the bottom lip?) and give them control of where. Once they like the flavor on their lips, we have them tip toe towards their tongue so then the flavor is in their mouth.
From that introduction, we move on to tastes.
I call it taste when the flavor is paired with texture. This would be the taste of, for example, a taste of applesauce, or smoothie, or even a crumb or tiny morsel of a food. The child has to have the flavor, but also the residual texture. Of course, the taste size is small and we help the child progress to bigger as she shows she likes it and is ready to manage a bigger amount or piece. The chart helps children imagine bigger and bigger tastes. I use animals for many little ones, but there are some children that like differently sized dinosaurs, or cars and trucks, or trains, or planets and stars. Their imaginations will help you make creative size graded charts.
Finger flavors and tastes:
We also use finger flavors and tastes. We help the children rub their finger on the food flavor first, then, if that is okay, then add the texture from a taste. They rub their own fingers and get as much or little of the flavor or taste as they want. (Of course, we try to hover a bit to be sure their initial taste, with texture is not too much so as to be overwhelming. We want the experience to be positive! And we want them to be actively involved because they are the ones who know how quickly they are ready for more.
Mouse Bites are the starting point for a progress of crumbs to crackers. Once the child is comfortable with tiny crumbs of a dry food, we add a step where they learn they can make a Mouse Bite with their teeth so they can practice taking a small bite successfully. We may start that activity with a tiny crumb that they need to bite in half, or a Rice Krispie so they bite is controlled and not too big. Gradually they learn the confidence to bite a Mouse Bite, or Bird Bite off a whole bigger piece of cereal, cracker or cookie.
And then there are Elephant Bites. We all know children who over stuff and, essentially, are taking Elephant Bites the whole meal. For those children we use the chart top to bottom. We help them concentrate on taking a Horse Bite, or Puppy Bite, or Bird Bite so they think about smaller and learn confidence in those graded sizes. We may help them with a bit more sensory input by adding crunch or strong flavors or cold to their food to help them “wake up” their mouths and find the food in their mouth more easily. Enjoy.
Workshop: Get Permission Approach to Anxious Eaters / Anxious Mealtimes September 13-14, 2019 LOCATION / LODGING: Renaissance Minneapolis Bloomington Hotel5500 American Blvd., Bloomington, MN 55437 CONTACT INFORMATION:
Kaye Koelker Baumgardner
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.minnetonkatherapy.com Phone: (763) 595-0812