Ksenia Wagner - about why it is important not to cycle on baby food and how to instill in a child a healthy appetite.
Reading my texts about children, many people think that I am a dust-blower mother, and my offspring are three crystal vases. They stand for themselves in the "hill", and all I do is blow off invisible dirt from them.
In fact, my tenderness, patience and ability to listen to my son and daughters do not cancel a certain number of prohibitions in our family. And one of them is iPad while eating.
When I see how parents spoon after spoon feed the child with soup while it glazes in front of the smartphone, my wild imagination immediately draws this girl with a pink bow at the age of 15. She is either very fat or painfully skinny, she is losing weight, then gaining weight, loves sneakers, but sitting on apples, with a high probability she has bulimia or, conversely, anorexia. According to psychologists, today, many children start eating disorders not in adolescence, as before, but already at the age of 7-8 (!). Why? Because relationships with food in early childhood turn from a constructive partnership into aggressive violence - through the efforts of parents.
The main mistakes made by the majority are five, but the first and the main one is to feed them at all costs. The curse of the clean plate that we carry from generation to generation. Why, why do we persistently force the child to finish "to the bottom" is a mystery. If we slow down for a moment in the daily hustle and bustle and ask ourselves this question "Why do I force him to eat when he does not want to?", Then there is no rational answer. We force because we forced us. And they forced us, because our parents and grandmothers knew what a deficit was, or even hunger. Crumbs did not count from a good life. Today, in any large supermarket there are 30 varieties of cheese, but we continue our gastronomic terror against children. Unconsciously, on psychological autopilot.
From this first mistake follows the second, called "all means are good." Doesn't eat? Now the cars will go to the garage, and the planes will fly to the hangar. Do they not go or fly? Then iPad. Ten spoons in a row until Peppa Pig is gone. Although, if it ends, it's not scary, YouTube has all the episodes.
What happens while Peppa is running across the screen and the child is mechanically chewing a cutlet? The cutlet obediently follows its predetermined path, but the baby hardly feels satiety, for which, like everything in our body, the brain is responsible. Because the brain has a cartoon on its agenda.
The child is not aware of what he is eating, does not feel the taste of food, does not chew well and does not gorge himself. Is it any wonder that an hour after such a dinner, he is hungry again? But, of course, not a soup or a cutlet, but something like cookies or candy. By the way, he already ate cutlets today!
And here comes the third mistake - small snacks. Even though a cookie or a candy is better than nothing. Is it better? Think for yourself: vitamins - zero, and hunger - albeit for a short time - but satisfied. The baby is full but not filled. The appetite is interrupted, and does not have time to play out in time for dinner. And everything starts anew: to the bottom, airplanes, Peppa, etc.
Moving on to the fourth mistake, by the way, let's look at the plate - what are our airplanes loaded with? Steamed broccoli? Boiled chicken? Spinach puree soup?
Let's be honest - do you eat all this yourself? I am with both hands for healthy food, but healthy should not be tasteless. No fries, no pizza, no nuggets and other convenience foods. But a little salt and a drop of vegetable oil have not spoiled more than one piece of chicken. Cooking is healthy, but not tasty - the fourth mistake many moms make. Watch your little one - what does he love and what does not? If he is sick of quinoa, but he eats rice with pleasure, there will be no disaster in canceling quinoa. My sister-in-law still, at more than 30 years old, cannot even look at milk, because all childhood she was forced to drink it. Useful, right? Okay, you can live without milk and even happily, but with a disgust, instilled in childhood, for example, for vegetables, it is already more difficult.
And finally, the fifth move is practically a knight. Eat your soup and I'll give you candy. Rewarding sweets and the habit of “eating” any meal with sweets 99% of us safely transfer into adulthood. Shouted the boss? Chocolate bar. Boyfriend not calling? Chocolate bar. Has everything faltered? Chocolate bar. And after any lunch or dinner - also chocolate.
I don't mind canceling dessert. The anti-sugar terror is also terror, and painful for a child. But let dessert be a deliberate pleasure - not a condition. It is best not to tie sweets to other meals at all, but to make them a separate ritual - for example, on weekends, or when you go to a cafe, or, at worst, once a day, but at a specific time.
Alas, with the eldest son, at first I made all the mistakes from this list, but, fortunately, I stopped in time, and from about four I “turned off” the topic of food.
There are only three rules: eat healthy food when you are hungry, but do not grab a bite between breakfast, lunch and dinner, dessert DOES NOT replace the main meal, ice cream on Sundays.
Now the son is five years old, and he is in excellent shape, not fat or thin, he has a normal appetite, but he has no interest in food, except for sweets. There is a fairly limited set of dishes that he likes - and he doesn't want to try anything new under any sauce, literally and figuratively. But the youngest daughter, who was passed by the planes, etc., eats everything and with pleasure, willingly tries new things and picks at the plate thoroughly, obviously enjoying the process.
Let's not make food a cult. Not a single child of the metropolis who has eaten five spoons of soup instead of twenty has died of hunger. In fact, a child feels his body much better than an adult - and will never consciously endure hunger. Just let him get hungry, cook a delicious dish, eat with him with pleasure - and don't need your iPad anymore. (And about why you yourself should not "sit" in gadgets with children, I wrote here).
Text: Ksenia Wagner