How many times does a child need to experience a food to taste it? That question could drive you mad, if you let it, because there is no magic number. Every child needs a different amount of experience with each food before they’re comfortable enough to venture a taste, but Kay A. Toomey Ph. D. of SOS Approach To Feeding has laid out the steps on the staircase to eating, which is even better than an answer to how many tries it’ll take because it tells you how your child will get there!
Some kids need to experience every step with every food and some kids skip a lot of steps, but this is the hierarchy of how we interact with foods based on our comfort level. We tolerate new foods around us, then interact with them, then smell them, then touch them, then taste them, then eat them.
Use any of the activities in the activities pull-down menu on the right to have fun with foods wherever your child is comfortable, then use these steps to think of ways to expand the play to take them to their next level of interaction. For example, if your child is comfortable with a food in their space, but they don’t touch it, the next step would be to see if we could make it fun enough, interesting enough, exciting enough and safe enough for the child to touch that food with the tip of their finger. Maybe we could sing a song, or play a game….
Have fun and happy food play!