Getting our children to eat healthily is a hot topic. Many hands are raised during my toddler workshops when the subject of food comes up, and parents are anxious and concerned. “They refuse to eat vegetables.” “They only want to snack.” “They are not getting enough protein.” Well-meaning parents find themselves trailing their child on the playground with a fistful of organic turkey, counting bites at every meal or bargaining with rewards and punishment at the dinner table, all in the attempts to fuel the machine.
There is another way that will reveal itself after you have unearthed your own relationship with food, done your emotional housework, and created clear intentions for your children. I will offer a series of posts dedicated to this topic.
The first step is for you, the parent, to get in touch with your own relationship with food. Do you love it? Are you overwhelmed by it? Do you hate it? Do you fear it? Are you angry at your cravings? Are you resentful of foods’ effect on your body? How was food used in your family of origin? Was it a reward? Was it a punishment? Did you stifle emotions with food? Did you grow up hungry? Did you grow up stuffed?
Carve out some uninterrupted time for emotional clearing between you and your historical and present connection or lack of connection with food. Dialogue aloud with food, by yourself, and speak about your experience. Or, write a letter to food, and get in touch with your beliefs and what you are bringing to the table emotionally.
Begin to release unhelpful patterns by naming them and saying aloud or writing, “I release…” Fill in the sentence with all the ways your connection to food is not serving you. If you can identify your true feelings about food you will see what is yours from the past and this will help you from unconsciously passing unwanted attitudes onto your child.
After your release work, begin to imagine yourself in relation to food in a way that feels rejuvenating, inspiring, and nourishing. Visualize yourself thriving in the kitchen, eating with a relaxed smile, with pleasant company and with an expansive sense of time to digest and enjoy.
Set the stage for your child by growing food, shopping for food together, cooking with eager anticipation of a delicious meal, and then truly savoring the meal together. Your children will imprint this template and it will set them up for their own healthy lifelong relationship to food.
Stay tuned for the next step.
About Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today's progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.