They say what you can measure you can manage. And if you’re trying to manage your child’s fussy eating habits we think the Child Feeding Guide App is just the thing.
This free app is the brainchild of the people behind the Child Feeding Guide – three specialist child feeding researchers who are also mums to young children – and is primarily aimed at carers of children up to the age of four or five, to help them understand “why a child is fussy and what they can do to improve mealtimes”.
To start, you log in and create quick profiles of your children. You then take a short feeding assessment questionnaire for each child. This series of questions really made me stop and think about the real issues I’d been encountering: like whether my children enjoy mealtimes, or whether they come readily to the table. The app analyses your answers and highlights whether there are any more concerning food issues that may require the assistance of a medical professional or whether your child’s fussy eating falls within the realm of normal – or not clinically-significant.
We really love the Parent Well-Being questionnaire which asks you to rate how stressed, anxious, helpless or frustrated you feel around family mealtimes. How often has anyone really asked us how we feel at dinnertime? According to one of the app creators, Dr Emma Haycraft, how we feel is really important; if we’re experiencing helplessness or anger because our children are refusing to eat a certain food, it creates a vicious circle of stress and frustration.
The app also comes with some really helpful tips and advice. I learnt about covert restriction versus overt restriction – they recommend the former when it comes to helping your children avoid poor food choices. I also learnt that most children require up to 15-20 exposures to a certain food before they will taste it. How many of us have given up trying to get our children to try something new after four or five attempts? The handy Exposure Monitor helps you keep track of how many times you’ve offered a certain food to your child – and in that way encourages you not to give up too soon.
Although my children are older than the target market for this app, I still found lots that I could use in my own home. But it’s definitely one of those tools I wish had been available when my own were younger. The app is available for both the iPhone/iPad and Android. To use the web-based program or to find out more information, go to the Child Feeding Guide website.