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Suffolk Center for Speech


6 Tips for Parents to Help a Child with ARFID

ARFID stands for avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, which is classified as an eating disorder. Children with ARFID are very picky eaters, have little interest in eating food, and eat a limited variety of preferred foods. This can lead to poor growth and nutritive intake. ARFID is linked to strong negative emotions and worries around foods. It is important for parents to be supportive and encourage a positive attitude about exercise and nutrition at home.

Try these 6 tips:

Tip#1: Be a role model for your child by serving and eating a variety of foods during mealtimes.

Tip #2: Schedule regular meals and snack times.

Tip# 3: Have regular family meals. It is important to keep the mood at the table pleasant and positive. Try to avoid struggles during mealtimes, as this will enhance negative emotions surrounding food.

Tip# 4: Be sure to encourage your child to try new foods, but do not force them to eat.

Tip #5: Reward positive eating behaviors!

Tip #6: Try to find ways to manage anxiety and stress around food. Sometimes taking a couple of deep breaths can help your child relax. Other outlets to manage stress can include; yoga, meditation, music, art, dance, writing, or talking to a friend.

-Deidre B


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