‘Food Positive’ Parenting; What to Say to Kids

kidsRaising kids can be a tough job. The things you say to them and the ways in which you present things has a pretty big impact on them throughout their life. When it comes to food, you want your children to learn healthy habits and view food as something they need to nourish their body. Not all parents get it right; here are some things you should avoid telling your child regarding food.

Rewarding with Food

Almost every parent is guilty of bribing their child, especially toddlers who are so willful and unwilling to compromise. But, when you tell your child that if they do this then they’ll get a treat you are making food a reward. This can be dangerous because it may cause your child to make an emotional connection with food, and that can be a hard habit to break. Food is not a reward or a punishment and you need to remember to present it for what is – a way to nourish their growing body.

Finishing the Plate

While you don’t want your children to waste food, you also don’t want to teach them that eating past the point of feeling satisfied is a good thing either. There are many adults who overeat because they were taught as children that they should finish everything on their plate. It’s a bad habit and you should avoid it.

Distorting Their View of Self

If your child likes chocolate, it’s not a good idea to tell them that if they eat too much they’ll be fat or chubby. This ties food to something fearful or bad – and that’s a connection for them to make that’s just as bad as food as a reward. The best thing you can do for your child is to model healthy eating habits for them and present them with food that is nutritious and good for them. Having a treat every once in a while isn’t going to hurt anything, and they shouldn’t make any kind of emotional connection with the food or with food and their body image.

Raising kids is tough, but you have to remember that it is your responsibility as a parent to model good behavior and teach them not only healthy habits, but a healthy relationship with food, too. They will hear your voice in their heads for the rest of their lives, so make what they hear something positive.

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Victoria by leonardo samrani is licensed under CC BY 4.0

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.