Social Story about Non-preferred Foods to the Rescue!
Do you have a child who displays unwanted negative behaviors at mealtimes? Are you all too familiar with meltdowns and tantrums when your child is presented with ‘non-preferred’ foods? Let me help you with a social story! Social stories help people address challenges in life more positively. These challenges could be centered on travel anxiety, difficulty accepting change, or even—yes—a social story about non-preferred foods!
I have written a social story—with pictures—that you could adapt for a child who frequently displays negative behaviors at mealtimes when presented with non-preferred foods. This story is suitable for most neurotypical children up to about age 6, as well as children with neurological disorders or delays, such as Autism, and/or cognitive challenges.
I have included a .pdf file for those of you who like the story just the way it is. If, however, you would like to manipulate the content to suit a particular child, feel free to download the Word .docx file. I recommend printing in color, double-sided, and storing in a plastic sleeve for a three-ring binder. You could collect more social stories to add to the binder. You might even want to create your own social stories!
Children learn through repetition; therefore, it is best to read the social story to the child several times a day for the first week or so, especially before the challenging event. Feel free to taper it down to less frequent readings as behavior improves. Of course, if the behavior starts to resurface, increase frequency.
Engage the Child
I also find that reading in an engaging manner helps the child attend to the story better which, of course, can facilitate comprehension and, ideally, faster internalization. This is a social story about non-preferred foods. Consequently, you want to help the child accept non-preferred foods. Above and beyond acceptance, however, they may even learn to like them! You can facilitate this process. Make yum yum sounds when pointing at and naming the food pictures. Make comments such as, “Mmm, I love pizza!” Smack your lips if you like. Pretend you’re the child. How do you think he would read this to himself? How would he talk about these foods?
If you give the story life—in a manner you know that particular child would enjoy and relate to—you will have a much better chance of reaching him. If a child feels connected to the story—looks forward to the story every time it is read to him—the story will wend its way into his heart and mind, facilitating change.
Of course, reading in an engaging manner for any type of story you read to a child is going to create a more enjoyable experience, not only for the child, but also for you. It just makes it more fun!
Have fun with this, and make the world a better place for some child you love!