1. Eat as a family as often as you can.
Try paying more attention to the quality of conversation and emotion at the table than the nutrient content of what’s eaten. It makes for a far happier (and healthier) dinner table.
2. Eat loads of variety.
We demonstrate to our kids that all foods can be part of a healthy diet. We let them see us enjoy everything from salad to dessert without passing any comment about which is better or worse for us. Talking about which foods we prefer is a great way to get them to tune into their amazing little bodies. You can’t get a preference wrong, so it creates a win-win conversation for everyone.
3. Let go of using binary labels; good/bad, healthy/unhealthy.
Kids can think they are ‘bad’ if they eat “bad food” – besides, when I used to tell my kids a food was bad, it made them want it more. Those were the foods they started sneaking! I’ve since discovered this is crazy common. Kids who have sugar banned at home often steal sweet foods from other kid’s lunchboxes and then feel terrible about it.
4. Avoid suggesting that food choices equate to particular body sizes.
We’ve completely eradicated the desire to change our weight so we naturally never comment about foods leading to bigger or smaller bodies. If that’s not you (I totally get it and pass zero judgment) please consider the idea that comments such as ‘I can’t eat that it would go straight to my hips’ can make a child fear different foods and lose trust in their own body.
5. Compliment the person not the body.
When a child hears how cute or tiny or thin they are, they can start to associate their worth as a person with that quality. As they grow, if that aspect changes it can cause the child to feel like that love and respect will also disappear. We practice complimenting their ideas, kindness, conversation, instead.
As a rule, we like to think about fostering habits for our family that have nothing to do with weight. As The American Academy of Pediatrics points out, attempting to change your child’s weight through dictating their food and exercise choices is probably going to backfire.
As you may know, I’ve just updated my Raising Body Confident Kids eCourse (it’s designed to help you find amazing freedom in 2020 for yourself as well as your kids).
If you’d like to join hundreds of other grateful mothers raising body confident kids, check out the groundbreaking book today: Raising Body Confident Kids: A Practical Workbook for Parents.