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Del Morrill, M.S. C.C.H


A Center for Counseling & Hypnosis
Tacoma, Washington, USA
(253) 752-1506

Finicky Eater

I have a 4 year old coming to me who refuses to eat almost everything. She was tested for autism but came up negative. It feels to me like she is hyperactive, as I cannot seem to get her to focus on anything or follow instructions. How can I get the hypnotic message across that eating is ok? Thank you for any suggestions you might give me.

For that age, story-telling could be very affective.  For an “antsy” child, I might ask them if they want to lie on the floor or sit in the “magic chair” to hear a story (Guess where they will usually go?) I tell them that I will tell the story only as long as their eyes are closed. Because it is such a special story, it can be heard the very best when someone has their eyes closed, but when the open their eyes suddenly the story stops.  And I keep my word about this. If the child opens their eyes, then I stop reading until they close them again.  This helps the child learn to follow your directions.  It doesn’t really matter where they sit or lie as long as they follow your instructions.

As to just what to introduce in a story, there is one that I found very helpful in getting a finicky eater to eat just about anything put in front of him.  He was a little older, but I think the story would work with a 4-year old as well. The gist of it is that of taking the child on a little adventure down a path or road where they stop at different towns with funny names, people and houses that are appropriate to the name (in my script they are the towns of round people and tall people).  In each place, the child is warmly greeted and gets the opportunity to be treated to a great feast with food that is strange – and he or she feels they must be polite and try the food, discovering it tastes wonderful and feels wonderful when they chew and swallow.   

(The full story is in my GREAT ESCAPES book of scripts for working with children, volume IV, under Habits; it is also available in my newest volume, Del’s Library of Pediatric Imagination, which pulls together over 220 published and unpublished scripts and other resources for working with children, pre-teens and adult-children. It can also be downloaded as a single script, as can all of my books.)

Another possibility is to have the child imagine each of the foods she doesn’t like and have her change its shape and color to something she likes and will eat.  Then tell her that the next time she sees that food it will feel the same way to her.

You might have her become a gardener who grows and lovingly attends to all kinds of vegetables, including whatever she doesn’t like.  The sun warms the plants, the rain nurtures them, etc.

Good luck, and let me know what you come up with that works for you and the child.





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