By Sarah Denman, M.A. CCC-SLP
Who doesn’t love snack time?!
On top of getting to eat yummy things, snack time can be used to focus on a variety of key skill areas.
- During snack try to include 2-3 different textures or tastes to expose your child to a wider variety of
foods. A combination of items such as pretzels, bananas, applesauce, gummies, celery, grapes, crackers,
or yogurt will give a variety of tastes (sweet, salty, bland) and textures (crunchy, chewy, soft).
- Playing with food is encouraged! Explore using multiple senses – What does it smell like? What does it
feel like? What does it look like?
- Some children may need exposure to a new food 8-15 times before they will accept it. Don’t force them to
eat something; be patient. Repeated exposure will increase likelihood of acceptance. In the meantime,
encourage your child to bring the food to their lips and give it a “kiss!”
- Crunching food with teeth, licking using your tongue, puckering your lips, blowing on hot food… all
these activities help children to gain awareness of how their mouths work! Be silly and do these things
- Talk to your speech therapist if you notice that your child is a) unaware of food spilling out of his/her
mouth, b) has difficulty keeping food inside his/her mouth, c) is coughing or drooling while eating.
- Want to know a speech therapy favorite idea?! Place snack items in clear containers with lids and only
give a few at a time (e.g. 5 pretzels). This allows for multiple opportunities for the child to request for
“more”, “open”, or labeling the snack name.
- When a child is done or does not want a certain snack, model phrases like “all done”, “no more”, or “no
thanks” and encourage them to imitate you.
- Snack time is a great time to talk and socialize! Talk about what you did before snack, what you will do
after snack, or what food you like best.