My Kid is Always Hungry…
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“My child just ate lunch and then he’s hungry 15 minutes later.” I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard this in the past couple weeks from parents in South Florida.
Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone.
For families who are trying to manage the symptoms of their child’s weight, this can be very distressing. It can leave parents feeling unsure of what to do and whether giving them more food, or to try and redirect their hunger.
This can also lead to tension in the household, with parents disagreeing on the best option, or the child becoming upset at your response.
There are TONS of reasons that your child may be expressing that he or she is hungry. I will start by saying that your child may be truly hungry, and that is absolutely OK! If you have concerns about the AMOUNT that your child should be eating, you should contact your doctor or dietician.
At OT 4 ME, our goal is to help children and teens when they feel like their weight is interfering with doing the things they want to do.
One of the ways occupational therapists can help is when your child is expressing hunger, even if they are already full. There are a couple reasons they may be feeling this way:
- They’re stressed, anxious, or upset: This is an extremely unprecedented time due to coronavirus. Children are disconnected from the activities they love and their friends. They may not always be able express to express their distress. Instead, they may communicate by tantrums, eating, or shutting down. In this case, children may be using eating as a coping strategy.
- They’re bored: Your kids probably aren’t used to being home all day everyday. Usually, they’d be going to camp, to school, traveling or hanging out with friends. Right now, things are a bit different due to coronavirus. When they have nothing to do, or are bored with their options, they may focus instead on eating.
- Interoception: This has become a “buzzword” in the therapy world in the past couple months (Kelly Mahler's stuff linked above is amazing). Interoception in the sense that lets you know what’s going on inside your body. For example, it helps a child feel whether their body is empty or full, hot or cold, and thirsty or not. When your child is expressing hunger, they are likely experiencing something inside their body. Sometimes, they can be confusing hunger with another feeling. Improving a child’s interoception can help them determine whether it is truly hunger, or if they could be thirsty, tired, or have to use the bathroom.
Of course, every child is different. There are many other reasons that can lead to your child expressing hunger!
As occupational therapists, we help you determine how to help your child connect with their body, read their sensory system, teach new coping skills, and provide customized solutions that fit your life!
If this is something your family struggles with, you may be interested in our FREE LIFESTYLE CONSULT to see how OT 4 ME can help!
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Healthy SHOULD be FUN!
Thanks for reading,
OT 4 ME
PO Box 273965
Boca Raton, FL 33427