Thursday, April 2, 2009

I am not sure how this block that I am typing into fits into the whole picture of the blog but here is my first attempt. Melinda invited me to share my insights. I know my day to contribute to the world is Friday, but I will be out of the country for the next two Fridays and don't want to miss this opportunity.

As I look back at parenting, I made a lot of mistakes but am happy that they weren't too damaging and that my kids survived and thrived even despite this. In addition to gaining a testimony, one of the greatest things that you can do for your kids is to help them to learn to be confident in making decisions. I will talk more about this later but this is how it ties into food.

If a child is allowed to make a decision about what they eat, they are more likely to eat it. Even the young child can point. You can then affirm their decision, build their confidence in making decisions and teach them rational decision making at the same time. The beauty of this is that it's a win win situation. They get what they want and you get a teaching opportunity.

For example, you open the fridge and ask your child, "can you help me pick out something yummy and nutritious for lunch (the child hears the word nutritious and "picks up" that nutritious is important"?" The child looks at the carrots and the broccoli and chooses the broccoli. You say, "great choice, brocolli is a cruciferous vegetable and chock full of antioxidants and great for fiber! You made a great choice!"

Your child looks at you strangely but all the while is proud of making a great choice, is subconsciouly learning about nutrition and reasoning, becoming confident in their ability to make decisions and opening their mind to trying something new. Even if they don't end up liking it, you can thank them for choosing something healthy for you to eat.

It might seem silly to say nutritious and cruciferous to your baby, but you will be amazed at how much they can sponge and you get it the habit of talking about how decisions are made and affirming their choices. And it's pretty darn cute when one of their first words is "antioxidants". People will think they are precocious and a genuis and you're a great parent.....which you are because you're reading this blog.


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