Tackling textures and smells – Healthier Eating For The Sensitive Child
Guest Post by Neil Welsh Nutrition.
Tackling Textures And Smells In The Sensitive Child
Feeding kids is difficult at the best of times and can have implications for the physical and mental health of everyone involved. It is stressful for kids who have sensitivities to food and can limit the range of food that are readily available to them from which they can meet their nutritional needs.
As for parents and carers, it impacts us too. The greatest impact on adults tends to be psychological in the form stress and anxiety in feeding a sensitive child. But the impact can also be physical. Kids who have difficulties when it comes to feeding can have a huge impact on the adults in their lives.
Why You Shouldn’t Narrow Down Different Textures And Smells
The narrowing down of a child’s food choices will often narrow down an adult’s food options too with many foods not being served as they are on the “do not like” list, and many of those foods being the healthier options which may be less palatable to a child. In addition to food options being narrowed time is a huge issue.
Sensitive kids will often require more time to eat, or try to eat. Many parents find themselves cooking twice, one meal for their sensitive child and then another for the rest of the family. This additional time in the kitchen adds up to hundreds of hours that could be put to use in other ways.
So what can parents do to help a child who is sensitive to textures and smells and improve everyone’s lives?
Don’t ignore it. The head in the sand approach is not your best option here but many parents do this hoping that it will be a phase which a child will grow out of. It may well be a phase but kids have lots of phases; tantrums, hitting, getting out of bed in the middle of the night and we would not just let them carry on these phases without some intervention. Food aversion is no different. Even if it were just a phase, it may unnecessarily carry on for years. There are ways to approach the problem which can be stress free for all involved and drastically improve the situation.
Talk about it. Many parents are concerned that talking about it with their kids may make it worse and reinforce it. It wont. As long as you are compassionate and empathetic then it should be fine. Let your child know that you understand and that you want to try and help. Tell them that you are on the same team and that you understand that things have been hard but you are going to try some new approaches. Now, let’s not be naïve here. There is a good chance that a child may be less than enthusiastic about this and that is fine. But warning them about a change and letting them feel part of the decision can be empowering and help improve the situation. This conversation is important.
This sounds easy but in reality it is quite difficult. Feeding professionals state that it can take up to 20 exposures for new tastes and textures to be accepted. If you were to serve a child the same problem food once a week that would mean that you would need more than 4 months of serving a food that your child does not like to see a progression from resistance to just licking. It’s a long time but the speed of acceptance does increase over time. Start with tricky foods just on the plate. Encourage a child to taste, they don’t have to eat it. There is a huge difference between eating and tasting to a child. Start with a sniff, go on to a lick, then a chew (followed by a spit) and hope for a swallow.
Get the environment right. Little details can add up to have big impacts. Getting a child ready to eat in plenty of time makes a big difference. Coming straight from playing to sitting down to eat can quickly result in “I don’t like it”, when what they really mean is “I want to go back and play”. Get kids in the kitchen. Get them helping to cook and lay the table… and clearing up afterwards. If they are old enough to operate an ipad then they are old enough to put plates in a dishwasher! Serve food in portions that are age appropriate, cut up tricky foods into bite size pieces, serve food family style so kids can help themselves and don’t always leave it until dinner to try to expose kids to difficult food (kids will be tired at the end of the day and it can make the job more difficult).
Keep calm and carry on. Know that this is a slow process and accept this. Do not stress if you don’t see results this week, or next week but keep going. Keep exposing and keep talking.
Be Patient Challenges Around Textures And Smells Usually Improve
Over time the situation and difficulties around different textures and smells should begin to improve. If there is no improvement then professional assessment may be required but at least you will know that you have taken steps to address the issue before moving on to this step.
More and more people are starting to realise they are a highly sensitive person. According to various research 15-20% of the population are a highly sensitive person. Dr Elaine Aaron a HSP Expert, states that a lot more people think they are highly sensitive when they are not.
Now more and more studies are demonstrating being highly sensitive which is also known as hypersensitivity is not a dis-order or a weakness. Highly sensitive people are not emotionally unstable or emotionally immature in many ways they are simply more energetically conscious. Their nervous system is more fine tuned to their surroundings.
In-fact an FMRI study of the Highly Sensitive Brain demonstrated sensory processing sensitivity and response to others’ emotions. The highly sensitive person is shown to be physiologically affected by others moods and the environment that surrounds them.
An explanation why many HSP’s struggle with the harsh energy of modern day living. Especially sensory processing; for example noise and busyness. Which can lead to an increased risk of highly sensitive people suffering from chronic anxiety, stress and some other health related issues.
The Gifts And Challenges Of A Highly Sensitive Person
Being a highly sensitive person has tremendous gifts and challenges. In many ways being highly sensitive is a powerful needed trait in society. Especially when so many people block, deflect or suppress their emotions, their pain, their fear, their compassion. A highly sensitive person usually has much greater compassion, wisdom and awareness of the inner world of those around them.
Probably the reason many HSP’s are the Drs, nurses, healers, therapists, counsellors, carers, nursery nurses…But also the reason why many in these careers suffer from burn out and other chronic health challenges like CFS or depression. As they often have many challenges around grounding and having healthy boundaries.
Common Traits Of A Highly Sensitive Person
Here are some of the more common and easy to wide range of traits of a HSP
You can often recognise a HSP as they care for others very deeply. They are extremely compassionate it simply oozes out of them. And very giving to the extent they often put them self last. Self care is often last on their list.
Highly sensitive people tend to be highly intuitive and at least a bit psychic. Though many block their psychic abilities from a young age because of others perceptions and their own fear. But they have a strong inner knowing, especially about people they meet and those around them.
a highly sensitive person is usually highly empathic, easily affected by other people’s emotional and mental pain, fear or negativity.
Struggle With Violence And Strong Negativity
hypersensitivity usually comes with a strong aversion to negative or violent media such as the news and tv.
a highly sensitive person tends to appear more emotional, they cry more easily especially to situations, things and events not affected by others.
they are usually naturally attracted to various aspects of spirituality.
Struggle To Function in Busy Environments
many HSP’s struggle to function or work in busy environments like call centres, busy office, factory even at school, college. So they need to take time out away from their desk or work environment to become re-focused and re-energised.
Need More Time Out
a highly sensitive person tends to need more time out and time away from others. They need more time to unplug, switch off, relax, even sleep. As being a HSP means you tend to have a lot more sensory processing over load.
Many HSP’s Freeze Or Shutdown To Serious Overstimulation
Due to the degree of their sensitivity many HSP’s can become very shut off emotionally especially those that are empaths. Often life, their surroundings can feel quite traumatic so they become quite shut off emotionally. Most are very ungrounded and not fully in their body in an energetic way. Many suffer from chronic anxiety and stress even if they are unaware of it. That it is why it is important to heal inner child trauma.
So How Can A Highly Sensitive Person Become More Resilient To Modern Day Living?
One of the big challenges a HSP has is balancing the scales of their gifts with the harsher energies of modern day living. So it is important a highly sensitive person learns effective anxiety and stress management skills.They also need to learn how to ground and set healthy boundaries. Because HSP’s are often more in their heart and head than the rest of their body. Their energy fields tends to be a lot more scattered and porous so they are easy target to the energies around them.
I know as a HSP how important it is to become more resilient to modern day life. One of the most powerful things I started to study over 30 years ago was meditation.
Meditation is one of the most powerful skills everyone should learn especially someone who takes on other’s emotional thoughts, feelings and physical symptoms.
Daily Meditation can give us instant access to inner stillness, inner peace. It can helps us become more centred within in our own space. Rather than expanded out into everyone else’s energetic field. You can start learning how to meditate more easily today.
is extremely helpful for most HSP’s and Empaths because it can help not just heal old trauma, but unhealthy beliefs or distortions that have arisen from their gifts. Unhealthy views or fears that have arisen because of other people’s views of their sensitivity.
As a highly sensitive empath who has been studying in the holistic and spiritual field for over 30 years. I was very fortunate to learn many strategies to help me remain more mentally and emotionally resilient to life’s stressors. To access a plethora of tools and techniques, healing and coaching to help you, check out the Lightworkers Portal.
8 Ways How To Reduce Teenage Exam Stress And Anxiety
Top tips on helping reduce student and teenage study and exam stress, hep your teen feel more calm, confident and relaxed when exam time and study time comes around.
Sadly Exam Stress And Anxiety Is A Big Problem For Many Students And Teenagers. Especially with such increase in mental health challenges in young people, especially chronic anxiety and depression.
Exam stress for many is actually stress anxiety, for some it is more anxiety performance. Most students and teenagers are suffering from both exam stress and exam anxiety, so it is important to approach both.Most of us when we hear the word exam get a feeling of panic.
But there is so many simple things your young adult or teenager can do to reduce exam stress and anxiety. With the right approach and the right tools you can help increase calm and confidence.
Top Tips To Reduce Teenage Exam Stress And Anxiety
Create A Suitable Study Space:
Make sure your child or teenager has a suitable comfortable space to study where they wont be disturbed or distracted. A space which is ideal to encourage more calm and focus. For teenagers who lack focus or suffer from ADHD, the NYR Study Remedies roller ball is great, ideal to fit in a pocket, purse or bag
Encourage A Balanced Study Routine:
Help or encourage your teenager to create a healthy and balanced study timetable. It is so important your teenagers prioritise their time effectively. It can be so easy for them to want to avoid subjects they struggle with or are concerned over.
Reduce External Stressors:
Help take the pressure off your teenager by reducing external stressors as much as you can. If your child normally has a lot of household chores, a job, try reducing them temporarily during study and exam time. So they are not overwhelmed, overstressed and over exhausted
Boost Your Teens Confidence And Self-Worth:
Support your teenage by boosting their confidence, self-worth and self-esteem. Focus on their strengths, praise them, be kind to them reduce criticism and help them understand that their worth does not equate to their exam results. Teenagers today are put under extreme pressure from all angles, especially peer and educational pressure. It is important to do what you can to encourage healtheir confidence, self-worth and self-esteem
Encourage Time Out:
Make sure your teenager takes plenty of breaks between study time and exams. It is important they take time to switch off and have fun.
Reduce Technology Overload:
We use technology for so much in our lives that we forget how over-stimulating and energy-depleting it can be. Also, most computers and mobile devices such as iPads emit blu ray technology which can play havoc with our nervous system and sleep patterns. So ensure they spend time off computers, phones, facebook…
Teach Them How To Meditate And Relax:
Meditation and relaxation techniques can be really helpful at helping anxious teenagers switch off. Teenagers love my less than 5 Minute Meditation (included in the Exam Stress Kit) is the most popular tool I have taught for 20 years. Muscle relaxations are great at reducing anxiety, muscle tension and sleep challenges, all in my Exam Stress Toolkit For Teens And Students.