How Do I … instill healthy eating habits in my child?
Samantha Kim, registered dietician and pediatric nutrition specialist at Cooper University Hospital
“These days it is hard to get children to eat anything but junk food. They are exposed to high fat, processed and sugary foods through advertisements on television and the foods their friends eat. It is important to establish healthy eating habits in children when they are young and most impressionable. Here are a few ideas:
• Starting with infants at age 6 months, offer a variety of pureed vegetables, fruits and meats.
• Don’t introduce toddlers to fast food restaurants. If they have never been to one, they won’t miss what’s served there.
• Set the standard; children learn by example. One of the most important ways to teach children about healthy eating habits is by eating healthy yourself. You can’t expect your child to eat and enjoy healthy food if you don’t.
• Avoid giving children too much junk food. Don’t completely ban less healthy foods from your home, as this may increase your child’s desire for these foods. Instead, teach them that while all foods can be included in a healthy diet, some should only be eaten in moderation.
• Consider instituting a one-bite rule. Encourage your child to try one bite of a new food; they just might find they like it.
• Don’t force children to clean their plates, as this may lead to overeating. Parents and care-givers are responsible for providing children with healthy foods at scheduled meal and snack times. It’s the child’s job to decide if they want to eat and how much they want to eat.
By teaching kids healthy eating habits while they are young, you are providing them with the building blocks for a healthy life.”
Mom vs. Mom
Should parents review their children’s homework beforeit’s submitted?
Wendy Gracias, Cherry Hill mother of Sofia, 14; Gabrielle, 11; and Vicente, 9.
“When my children were in the first years of grade school, I would contact their teachers early in the year and ask how they would like the parents to handle homework. The teachers would invariably answer that they would not like the parents to change or correct homework, but to review it with the children and make changes/corrections next to their answers. In this way, the teachers knew our child’s weaknesses. By reviewing the errors with our children, this in turn reinforced the lessons they were learning in class. As my children grew older, they needed me to check their homework less and less. They became more responsible for recognizing their own limits and were comfortable seeking help. In this way, we, as parents, were always there to support their efforts, but they slowly took ownership of their education.”
Carolyn Herr, Marlton mother of Brandon, 10.
“I believe parents should review their child’s homework and have them correct the answers if they are wrong. This way the parent knows what their child is learning. By participating in this, it also gives the message that the homework is important, because it shows the parent is interested. Having children correct their work and making sure they understand the right answers will be a highly beneficial learning process. Parents can encourage their efforts to achieve and set high expectations when they are a partner in the process.”
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 1 (March, 2011).
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