Let’s take a survey; how much energy, mental and emotional would you say, you spend, on average, thinking about food/calories/ your body per day? It was brought to my attention today and reminded me of the fact, that I am sure, as women, if we could harness the amount of energy we spend thinking of those things, and put it elsewhere, we would have by now cured cancer.
On the other hand, we women are so good at multi-tasking, that we could of course, plan the kids’ summer schedules, sign them up for soccer, (count calories), add that last item to the grocery list, remember the most crucial aspects of our jobs, and pick up the dry cleaning, (count calories.) I call it the ‘wallpaper of the mind’. That ticker tape that is always circulating, thinking of what, how much, little, how well or badly you have eaten that day.I know I always talk about being conscious of your body, and the irony is that in these parenting workshops that I do, or talks that I give, (I am preparing for one next week,) I try to help parents KEEP their kids connected to their bodies, and try to help them not get in the way.
The irony is that kids for the most part, self regulate, meaning that they eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Like everything though, not all kids do this. The trick as a parent, is to understand enough about your kid, their temperament, their eating styles and habits, AND, (this is not a small task), be aware enough of your own food attitudes to know when or if you are creating more of a problem, or not seeing a problem because you don’t want to deal with it. As one mom once said to me: “I have an easier time talking about sex with my kids than food, because my mother was so overly involved and critical about my food, I swore I would never say a word to my kids!”
So, it gets complicated, right? Good thing we are such good multi-taskers! But I will assure you that, one of the best things you can do to give your kids good eating habits, is to be as conscious about yourself and your interactions with them around food as possible. THEN, you can figure out what they might need from you. Tough part is, just like they might all want different meals, they often need different parenting, depending on their own temperament. Now how do you juggle that, will be something that I will be happy to talk about in the next few posts, as it is truly, the trick of parenting, and one of the keys to helping your kids to eat healthy.
Now that is something to focus our mental energy on.