As a parent, you’re all the time with your kid, encouraging him to do things. This is true for healthy eating as well, especially because as parents, we try to introduce healthy habits. However, in doing so, some of our comments transmit other messages that affect the child in a negative way. Here are ten things you shouldn’t tell your kids about food.
1. See how X is eating? Why aren’t you doing the same?
Interpretation: X is better than me.
What you can do instead: I know that you will succeed. It may take some time before you get used to all tastes, but you will learn to like other dishes as well.
Reason: Instead of creating him a feeling of inferiority, you can stimulate his self-confidence, as he understands he has the right to accommodate with a certain type of food.
2. Before you ate blueberries! Now you’re so picky.
Interpretation: Maybe I won’t be so picky when I grow up.
What you can do instead: Do not call on him when he is picky. It is recommended to make any meal a joyful experience.
Reason: If you label the child at a time in which he is growing up, the label will remain embedded in his mind.
3. I’m telling you for the last time: you cannot have ice cream.
Interpretation: I will not ever eat ice cream
What you can do instead: We can’t get ice cream now because it’s lunchtime. We’ll have ice cream for dessert one of these days.
Reason: The children accepts no for an answer when he is explained why and, especially, when he hears a yes. We won’t have ice cream now, but we will one of these days.
4. You didn’t eat enough. Take a few more bites and you can leave the table.
Interpretation: An empty plate is more than what I feel.
What you can do instead: Make sure you eat well enough because the next meal is in X hours and until then you will not be able to eat anything/
Reason: When your child feels like he decides how much to eat, he learns how to manage hunger. And, as we all know, mistakes are the best teacher.
5. No dessert if you don’t eat your veggies
Interpretation: I’m looking forward to the day when I can have dessert without eating veggies.
What you can do instead: Try not to bribe your child with sweets. Instead, you can present fruit and vegetables in an attractive manner.
Reason: Researchers say that children like more reward food than mandatory foods.
6. Bravo! (after eating more than usual)
Interpretation: Mommy and daddy are happy when I eat a lot!
What you can do instead: What a good thing you are doing when you eat as much as your tummy wants.
Reason: Praising children as they eat more teaches kids to appreciate food quantity and not quality. It is recommended that your child learns to listen to his body and eat how much he needs.
7. Eat, it’s good for you!
Interpretation: It tastes bad.
What you can do instead: It tastes really good, like X (a food that the child likes).
Reason: Studies have shown that children are more tempted to taste a new food if you tell them about it.
8. If you’re good, I’ll give you a cookie! / If you’re not good, you are not having dessert tonight
Interpretation: Every time I’m good, I get something good.
What you can do instead: Tell your child in advance what consequences will follow if he does not have an appropriate behavior.
Reason: Think long term. What are the effect of food rewards? Studies have shown that adults who were rewarded with food, had a chaotic diet in childhood.
9. Too many sweets will hurt you
Interpretation: I love all that is bad. Bad=pleasure.
What you can do instead: Sweets are not something to eat constantly. But it’s okay if you eat something sweet once in a while.
Reason: labeling foods as good or bad creates a tendency to keep these labels in adulthood. Instead, you can teach your child to have a balanced diet without excess.
10. You don’t like it? Want me to make you something else?
Interpretation: “I don’t even have to taste it. Mom will make me whatever I like.
What you can do instead: We are all eating the same thing. Sometimes it is something you like, sometimes it is something the others like.
Reason: Meals with family make children easily accept a wide variety of foods.