Health Conditions : Children's Health
Establishing a good relationship with food.
It is important to make sure that your child is following a good balanced diet at least 80% of the time, don’t worry too much about the other 20%, as you can’t be in control of what they eat all of the time. Your priority should be to deliver balanced healthy fresh food at home, what they actually eat at school and parties is a gamble. Some child psychologists believe that if you are too strict about food at home, then your children are more likely to stray into binging unhealthy foods when they are away from home.
Establishing a healthy and relaxed relationship with food is very important. Try not to call any foods ‘bad’ or ‘fattening’ as this can lead to obsessive dieting during teenage years when image can suddenly become their main focus. Some therapists believe that it’s good to have a few chocolates and sweets around the house from time to time for your children to dip into if they wish. This ‘take it or leave it’ attitude is thought to dissipate any tendency to binge on these foods when away from home.
It is important to avoid using sweet foods as treats or rewards for good behaviour or as a bribe to motivate the completion of a task or project. This is a sure way to set up a pattern of comfort eating later on in life. There are many other non-food based treats and rewards that can be used instead.
Aside from all the emotional and psychological links with foods there are a few key areas of child development that benefit from good nutrition. During childhood we have the capacity to shape and influence bones, IQ and immunity in ways that will set the scene for the rest of their life.
Dietary changes can improve:
- Social behaviour
- Language, reading & spelling
- Writing & drawing
- Skin disorders
- Reduce aggression
- Reduction of ADHD symptoms
- Hyperactive-Impulsive Behaviour
Whilst it’s quite possible to gain all the nutrients you need from a balanced diet, you may wish to support your child with supplements if they are fussy eaters and you worry they are not obtaining maximum nutrients from their diet.