Growing children need to be taught to develop the right eating habits to raise them to become healthy individuals, and that doesn’t just mean avoiding junk. Emotional eating is a problem that’s noticed in our generation more than ever, and as a parent, you need to be super careful you’re not soothing your kids with food. It can be trickier than you might think at times.
Read on to discover 7 signs that you could be raising a kid that’s an emotional eater.
Signs of Emotional Eating in Children
Food is the Escape
Your little one, at times, may be stressed and anxious, and if as a parent, your first instinct to distract him from it is to offer him something to eat, you’re actually teaching your kid to develop the wrong kind of eating habit, and are making him an emotional eater.
You Do the Same
Parents influence their children in more ways than you can imagine. If you too, are someone who sits down with a bag of chips and some soda on a bad day, remember that your little one is watching you, and will probably pick up the same habits as you do.
Supermarket Trips are Important
If supermarket trips are the highlight of most weeks, and your little one always insists on coming along, that could point to a potential issue. A cart is overflowing with bags and bags of snacks and munchies is definitely a warning sign. You’re probably causing your family to develop very unhealthy eating habits and also encouraging emotional eating.
You Don’t Ask
Whenever your kids asks for a snack or demands a bag of chips or some candy to munch on, your response as a parent isn’t first asking if he’s really hungry. Instead, you just do it- offer him what he wants and that’s it. This is another big no-no and will get your little one to indulge in mindless munching, raising him to not just be an emotional eater but also an unhealthy adult.
Outdoor Activities are Practically Non-Existent
Sports and other outdoor activities are extremely important for growing kids, and if your kid is usually at home, watching TV and playing video games, he’ll be more likely to crave for snacks, even if he isn’t hungry, or as a response to teeny little inconveniences such as losing in the game.
TV Time is Important
If TV Time is super super important in your household, it is another sign that your kid will develop mindless eating habits. Growing children tend to be influenced by what they see very easily, and if your kid reaches for those chocolate cookies when his favorite cartoon character had a fall in the show, you know things are going wrong.
Food Always Makes Up
If food is your go-to solution for everything related to your kid (whether it is trying to convince him to do his homework on time or rewarding him for a job well done), you’re actually teaching him to be dependent on food for everything. If snacks and chocolates get things right between you both when you’ve had a fight, you need to remember that by doing this, you’re actually raising an emotional eater.
What to Do
Being aware is half the battle. Once you realize your own contributions to attaching food to your child's emotions, you can start to phase them out. Start swapping non-food rewards and talk to your child about what is going on when they seek food when not hungry. Teaching them proper nutrition at a young age is one of the best gifts we can give our children. Get started with these free printable nutrition activities for kids.