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Reactive Attachment Disorder and Food Struggles

 “We need to talk about Sunshine’s eating habits. She’s refusing multiple meals a day.”

The clinical director of Sunshine’s RTC continued explaining everything that had been tried.

This is the third RTC that Sunshine has been placed in due to behaviors related to Reactive Attachment Disorder, and other emotional and developmental disabilities.

They had given Sunshine food choices at this RTC.

They had offered to have her help prep her meals.

They made her favorite foods.

Still the problem was worsening.

A list was read out loud of all the food that Sunshine had refused over the past two weeks. It included hamburgers, French fries, and potato chips, all of which are her favorites.

No information that the clinical director shared was new.

This is what life has always been like with Sunshine due to Reactive Attachment Disorder and Food Struggles.


Reactive Attachment Disorder and Food Struggles


Reactive Attachment  Disorder and Food Struggles


The History


Sunshine has a LONG history with food, and it’s not a good one.

Throughout the years we’ve dealt with food refusal, food gorging, vomiting, gagging, stealing food, and so much more.

This is all completely normal with a child who has Reactive Attachment Disorder.

This has been on top of reflux, food allergies, and other special dietary needs.

Sunshine has had a barium study. She’s been to a swallowing specialist. An OT has worked with her.

We have tried so many different methods to empower Sunshine at mealtime. 


  • Use a Montessori weaning table
  • Teach practical life skills related to food preparation
  • Let Sunshine prepare her own food to the ability that she’s able
  • Let Sunshine meal plan
  • Take Sunshine grocery shopping to ensure we have foods that she loves
  • Provide choices to choose from
  • Improve sensory experiences related to food

Still, Sunshine refused to eat on a regular basis.

Mealtime became a battle ground.

Often the issues started even before a meal was prepared, especially at dinner time. If Sunshine didn’t like what we were having all sorts of behaviors would start.

The screaming would come first, then would come the physical aggression.

When my husband wasn’t home, I’d always need to make sure the refrigerator was stocked full of grab and go foods for my other children to prepare on their own. Sunshine’s outbursts and aggressions could last hours, to the point that I could not prepare a meal.


The Doctor's Orders


I spoke with Sunshine’s developmental pediatrician about these struggles early on. 

As a mother, I felt like the most horrible person on earth. 

Nothing I tried would help with the mealtime drama, which was affecting Sunshine’s health.

The developmental pediatrician was kind yet blunt.

If she was refusing to eat, then I needed to do what was necessary to make sure she ate. 

If that included a stand off until she conceded, then that’s what needed to happen.

If she would not feed herself, then I was to feed her.

Refusing to eat was not an option.

So that’s what we did.


The Nightmare


We continued to do all the things mentioned above AND…

At each meal, I set the rule that Sunshine had to eat however many bites of food she was in years of age. When Sunshine was five years old, she needed to take five bites.

If she decided to refuse and throw a fit, I’d wait until the fit was over, and we’d start again.

If Sunshine decided to spit her food out, the count started over.

If Sunshine became aggressive, I’d wait it out and we’d go at it again.

It was a nightmare.

I felt like a monster.

This was not the mother I wanted to be.

But, year after year, this proved to be the only way to ensure that Sunshine would eat.

You see, Sunshine has absolutely no concept of when she’s full or hungry. This dates back to trauma she experienced during the first six months of her life (before she came to us).

Food trauma is real.


Validation


As I shared with the clinical director what had worked at home all those years, frightened out of my mind to be judged as being that parent, the clinical director surprised me.

“Okay. We’ll do it.”

I was speechless.

“Are you sure? It’s going to result in so many more aggressions.”

She was sure.

Sunshine’s refusal to eat has become that dangerous.

Part of me was frustrated.

After six months of working with professionals, my advice is the best idea they have.

Yet, if my advice is the best option they have, that means that no matter how horrible it felt forcing Sunshine to eat all of those years, it was the right thing to do.

If Sunshine is refusing to eat even more there than she was at home, that meant that the whole mess wasn’t my fault.

I’m not really great at accepting that things aren’t my fault.

I do not have confidence in my parenting abilities after how horrible experiences have felt.

So for good measure I reminded the clinical director of a few other things.

  • Sunshine’s GABA supplement should not be taken with food, or else it causes her tummy to be upset.
  • A side effect of one of Sunshine’s meds is constipation. If she’s constipated, she’s not going to eat much.
  • Sunshine had COVID-19 a month ago and it may have changed her taste buds.

But ultimately, all of us agreed that it seems all of this comes down to control.

Reactive Attachment Disorder goes far beyond the challenges of parenting a picky eater or one with sensory struggles.

Why I Share


I’m sharing this experience because I know there are other caregivers out there struggling with food issues related to Reactive Attachment Disorder. They are real. You are not alone.

Documentation is so important in these cases.

Keep a food journal.

Write down behaviors.

Try everything and anything that professionals suggest. 

Document if it works and the consistency in which it works.

Talk to your child’s pediatrician and other specialists.

You need a team.

You need support.

Battles as severe as Sunshine’s regarding food are not normal. Seek help.

You are not a bad caregiver for doing so.

This is not your fault.

If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy the resources below.

What Is Reactive Attachment Disorder A Minimalist Montessori Home Tour: The Kitchen How to Discipline a Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder Food Issues When Food is Your Child's Enemy Day to Day Life Parenting A Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder
Read More »

Valentine's Day Noun Activities for Preschoolers with Free Printables

 I am so excited about these new Montessori-inspired Valentine's Day Noun Activities for Preschoolers. They even come with a new free printable.

It's my plan to bring them along with us to Sunshine's next visit for her to enjoy during learning time. (We try to keep our daily schedule as close to home as possible when we visit to practice each and every part of the day.)

Sunshine absolutely loves holidays. When I combine holidays with learning, she's sure to enjoy herself and learn so much more. It also helps that there are a lot of hands on activities, which always keeps her busy.


Montessori-inspired Valentine's Day Noun Activities for Preschoolers with Free Printables

In the Montessori albums, nouns are introduced in the elementary classroom.

I'm here to say, it's perfectly okay and sometimes highly encouraged to introduce noun concepts in the Montessori preschool classrooms.

I create noun activities for preschool children, for this very reason.

The goal is to follow the child. 

If a student is showing signs of interest in learning about grammar early, go for it!

As a preschooler, Bulldozer LOVED shapes and colors. He was drawn to the Montessori Grammar Symbols because of this. Though he couldn't read or write at the time, he learned about grammar, because he loved it so much.

We continued with grammar lessons in elementary when he was ready for the next level, but so much of his knowledge is based on all of those preschool lessons and activities.

Today I'm excited to show you four activities that may work for Montessori preschoolers in your life!


Valentine's Day Noun Activities for Preschoolers


N is for Noun


N is for Noun

Grammar lessons can be combined with so many other learning concepts. Here I've created a first letter sound "do-a-dot" page that focuses on the Montessori Grammar Symbol for nouns. This activity can also include cutting and gluing.

Sunshine will cut the triangles and glue them onto the letter n, in each of the triangles there. 

As she works, and once finished, we will review that a black pyramid/triangle stands for a noun, which is a person, place, thing, or idea in a sentence.

Source: I created this printable as part of Valentine's Day Nouns Printable Pack, which is included in the Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle available now.

Valentine's Day Nouns: People, Places & Things


Valentine's Day Nouns: People, Places & Things

In this activity Sunshine will learn and understand that a noun is a person, place, or thing. I've included the Montessori Grammar Symbol for nouns on the tray as a visual to remember what a noun is.

We will go through the pictures together to identify what each one is. Once she feels confident knowing the name for each image, she will sort them under the "people," "places," and "things" cards provided.

I absolutely love this activity and the cards included. There are so many fabulous people to discuss when it comes to Valentine's Day including a chocolatier, jeweler, and baker. The "places" and "things" cards are great as well.

Source: I created this printable as part of Valentine's Day Nouns Printable Pack, which is included in the Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle available now.

I Spy Nouns!


I Spy Nouns!

Once the realization comes that nouns are people, places and things, it can be quite fun to play "I Spy" with nouns. How many nouns can you find?

In this activity Sunshine will use her favorite magnifying glass to look for nouns in the picture cards provided. She will be working with a parent or sibling, so she can share her nouns verbally.

If she's up for it, I'm going to invite her to use the "big kid" version of this activity where she is able to write what she finds on the lines provided.

I Spy Nouns! Writing Activity

This is not a spelling activity, so she can do her best to write words without worrying if they're spelled wrong. If she wants help spelling, she can always ask for it.

You'll notice I also included a noun pyramid in this activity to reinforce the Montessori Grammar Symbol.

Source: I created this printable as part of Valentine's Day Nouns Printable Pack, which is included in the Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle available now.

Valentine's Day Nouns


Valentine's Day Nouns

This is a super fun activity to reinforce that nouns are things. Sunshine will match up the objects with the free noun word strips provided.

What I love about this activity is that all of the noun word strips have to do with objects you may see at a Valentine's Day Party. All objects are $1 or less, found at Walmart or our local dollar store.




If you're interested in more Valentine's Day Grammar resources, be sure to purchase the Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle today!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the following resources.

Valentine's Day Singular and Plural Nouns Writing Strips Valentine's Day Practical Life and Sensorial Activities Montessori-inspired Pink Activities Montessori-inspired Red Activities Valentine's Day in Paris Valentine's Day Activities for Tots 
Read More »

FREE Valentine's Day Singular and Plural Nouns Writing Strips

Valentine's Day is such a great holiday for studying language concepts including grammar. Nouns are especially fun to learn about. There are some fantastic Valentine's Day related nouns!

Everyone learns differently. 

Some enjoy pictures. 

Others enjoy reading. 

Then there are those who learn through writing.

I have two girls who absolutely love writing. 

Princess can't ever get enough of it.

Sunshine gravitated towards writing activities when she was at home. She loved the feel of a pencil in her hand and paper to write on, especially when a control was provided. 

It's for these reasons that I've created the FREE Valentine's Day Singular and Plural Nouns Writing Strips.

Valentine's Day Singular and Plural Nouns Writing Strips

Three writing strips are included for every singular and plural noun match up:
  • Singular Noun Writing Strip
  • Plural Noun Writing Strip
  • Fill-in-the Blank Plural Noun Writing Strip

How to Use the FREE Valentine's Day Singular and Plural Nouns Writing Strips


There are multiple ways that these writing strips can be used.

1. A student may choose to match up the singular and plural writing strips. If you have a student with a vision impairment, these writing strips may be a better option than traditional nomenclature sized matching cards.

2. A student may be presented with singular noun writing strips and blank plural noun writing strips with the expectation of writing the plural version of the noun.  Answers can be checked using the plural nouns writing strips.

3. A student may be presented with only blank plural noun writing strips and asked to write the plural noun that matches the picture. Answers can be checked using the plural noun writing strips.



Valentine's Day Grammar: Nouns Printable Pack

Valentine's Day Grammar: Nouns Printable Pack


The FREE Valentine's Day Singular and Plural Nouns Writing Strips are designed to be used with the Valentine's Day Grammar: Nouns Printable Pack.

They match the singular vs. plural noun nomenclature cards included in the printable pack.

Currently, you can purchase the Valentine's Day Grammar: Nouns Printable Pack as part of the Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle.

This is such a fabulous language bundle that can provide years of study for homeschoolers and such a variety of grammar activities on the shelves in Montessori classrooms! 

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

Valentine's Day Practical Life and Sensorial Activities Montessori-inspired Pink Activities Montessori-inspired Red Activities Valentine's Day in Paris Valentine's Day Activities for Tots Valentine's Day

Read More »

Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle

I need to confess that I LOVE Valentine's Day. 

I know many feel it's cheesy or silly. 

Some believe it's only for those romantically involved. 

But I believe Valentine's Day, a holiday celebrating love, is for everyone and every relationship.

It's also a huge perk that red roses are my favorite flowers, dark chocolate is my favorite treat, and strawberries are my favorite fruit.

One could say, Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday because I'm gifted three of my favorite things.

When it comes to Montessori, it's no secret that my favorite materials are the Montessori Grammar Symbols. They have a special place in my heart.

I really can't help but combine two worlds I love, especially when it means you receive more incredible resources for your students.

So today I introduce the NEW Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle!

This bundle was created with so much love and laughter as everyone in the family pitched in to bring you all that's included.

Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle

Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle

The Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle is designed for students in Montessori preschool and elementary classrooms.

It includes printables that meet the needs of every student, no matter their abilities.

All printable packs include true-to-life images that are kid friendly and beautiful.

This bundle includes 400+ pages of grammar resources your students are sure to love.

There are ten individual printable packs included in the bundle and one bonus. Continue reading to see all that you'll receive!


Valentine's Day Grammar: Nouns Printable Pack
The Valentine's Day Grammar: Nouns Printable Pack is one of the largest printable packs included in the Valentine's Day Bundle. It includes such a variety of activities that teach about the different types of nouns, singular versus plural nouns, abstract nouns, collective nouns, and so much more!

I think my favorite activities in this printable pack are the I Spy a Noun picture cards and the Find the Noun sentence cards. They are such great tools for teaching about nouns on a variety of levels, no matter where a student is at in their abilities.

Valentine's Day Grammar: Articles Printable Pack
The Valentine's Day Grammar: Articles Printable Pack does such a fabulous job teaching about when to use "an," "a," and "the." I love that there are activities that include true-to-life images to really help students understand the difference between each article.

This printable pack builds off of all that's already been taught about nouns, following the Montessori Language Album.

My favorite part of this printable pack is the beautiful clip cards that are included. Clip cards are always a preferred way of learning for my kiddos. It helps that they come with a control if needed.

Valentine's Day Grammar: Adjectives Printable Pack
The Valentine's Day Grammar: Adjectives Printable Pack isn't just about adjectives. It also includes activities that focus on knowledge learned about nouns and articles, bringing the whole noun family together.

This printable pack not only introduces adjectives, but also presents the various types of adjectives. I love how adjectives are broken down into digestible chunks throughout the printable pack.

My favorite printables in this pack are the article, adjective, noun match up cards. The kids had such a blast coming up with phrases after using the some of the ones already provided.

Valentine's Day Grammar: Verbs Printable Pack
The Valentine's Day Grammar: Verbs Printable Pack, may just be one of my favorites as its creation led to so many fabulous discussions with the kiddos about the different types of verbs. 

You see all three are learning a foreign language this year. Their biggest struggle with foreign language has been understanding verb conjugations. Reviewing verbs in English, using this printable pack was such a great way for them to understand what they're learning in French, German, and Spanish.

My favorite printables in this pack are the verb mood sorting cards. There are several for each verb mood. Comparing each mood really helped the kiddos understand the difference between each one. They also enjoyed coming up with their own sentences and phrases after they understood what each one meant.

Valentine's Day Grammar: Prepositions Printable Pack
The Valentine's Day Grammar: Prepositions Printable Pack includes so many wonderful resources for helping kids understand what a preposition is and how to use it when writing.

This printable pack comes with activities that include true-to-life images or Montessori Grammar Symbols. 

My favorite printables in this pack are the Identify the Preposition Nomenclature Cards. These cards can be used on their own, or as control for the clip cards also included in the pack.

Valentine's Day Grammar: Adverbs Printable Pack
The Valentine's Day Grammar: Adverbs Printable Pack is such a fabulous resource to help students understand what adverbs are, where they go in a sentence, and different types of adverbs that can be used.

I love that this printable pack also builds on information presented in noun family activities. It's such a powerful thing for a student to create a sentence that includes so many different grammar symbols.

My favorite printables in this printable pack are the Noun Family + Verb + Adverb Match Up Cards. Not only are there several sentences to work with, but a template for students to come up with their own.

Valentine's Day Grammar: Pronouns Printable Pack
The Valentine's Day Grammar: Pronouns Printable Pack is an incredible resource for teaching all there is to know about pronouns including how they relate to nouns and verbs, they different types of pronouns and so much more.

Personally, I believe that pronouns are one of the most complicated aspects of grammar. I love how this printable pack breaks everything down with examples to sort through, to ensure understanding and mastery.

My favorite printables included in this pack are the Pronoun Word Strip Sorting Cards. I love that there are so many words to sort, with definitions to go by.

Valentine's Day Grammar: Pronouns Printable Pack
The Valentine's Day Grammar: Conjunctions Printable Pack is so much fun to use and goes beyond the basics of "and," "but," and "or."

I love that this printable pack introduces so many different conjunctions and combines grammar concepts learned in previous lessons.

My favorite printables are the Identify the Conjunction Clip Cards. There are so many beautiful true-to-life images used in this activity. All of the choices are conjunctions, so the cards are a great way to introduce even more options than in previous activities and lessons.

Valentine's Day Grammar: Interjections Printable Pack
The Valentine's Day Grammar: Interjections Printable Pack is definitely one of a kind. It introduces the symbol, how to use the concept with sentences, and then goes a step further in showing emotions related to interjections.

I love that so many different interjections are used, both negative and positive expressions, even on Valentine's Day.

My favorite printables in this pack are the Interjection Nomenclature Cards. They are so adorable, entertaining, and some are quite funny. My three kiddos at home expressed several interjections themselves as they looked through them.

As you can see the Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle is an incredible resource for any classroom at home or at school.

At full price this bundle is $60+. But now through Sunday, February 13, 2021, it can be yours at 75% OFF for only $14.99.

When you purchase the Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle, you also receive the Valentine's Day Grammar Environment Printable Pack. This printable pack includes two environments:
  • The Bakery
  • The Flower Shop
Nouns and verbs come in both singular and plural forms. There are so many word strips to choose from!

Montessori-inspired Intro to Grammar Printable Pack
 When you purchase the Valentine's Day Grammar Bundle, you'll also receive my Montessori-inspired Intro to Grammar Printable Pack that introduces each Montessori Grammar Symbol and how it came to be.

Do not wait until it's too late to purchase this wonderful resource. It is such an amazing addition to your Valentine's Day themed studies!
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