The 15 minute rule


Awhile back I mentioned that we were starting the SOS feeding program through our local public services. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough children signed up to run the program, and the starting date was bumped… to today. We had our first session today, er, Eric did. Maddy is in the throes of strep throat so I stayed home with her.

It was great to get the first parent teaching session. We were disappointed to hear that there are still not enough children signed up for the group feeding sessions. They require at least four kids (but hope for more), as part of the success of the program is based on the environment – peer pressure, for lack of a better description. We will find out in the next week or so if they have enough, and if not, we will try again for this fall.

We did get a lot of good tips today that we are slowly going to put in place at home. The biggest struggle we know we’ll have with this is the planning required. Eric and I are fly by the seat of your pants kinda people, particularly when it comes to meals. We never plan meals in advance, and we don’t really have a regular menu rotation. We like trying new things, and Eric is especially good at preparing meals without a recipe. That is going to have to change, but I will share more on that another day.

We’ve already taken the first step of the program – I talk about it in this post.

One of the next things we are implementing is the 15 minute rule. Basically, that means that challenging meal times will never last more than 15 minutes. It’s up to us to decide whether or not the meal is challenging – and it’s based on the cues Maddy gives. If she is calm, and happily eating, it’s okay if the meal lasts longer than 15 minutes. On the other hand, if she’s agitated, upset, frustrated, or anxious, 15 minutes and we call it quits.

What’s the theory behind this rule? Basically, if a meal time is challenging and lasts longer than 15 minutes, the child will end up with negative calories. In other words, the child will burn more calories than they will consume. If there is always a preferred food item presented, 15 minutes is enough time for that item to be eaten. For Maddy, we know her preferred food items are pasta, oatmeal, waffles, risotto, and rice. These are also things she is able to comfortably eat with her oral motor challenges.

The 15 minute rule will be a big change for our house, but we’re ready for the challenge!




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