If you’re like me, you have lined up your goals for the New Year. My goals are wide reaching, from getting to bed earlier and up in the morning earlier (so I can cross exercise off the list earlier!) to some big professional goals for the year.
Maybe you have set some goals, too. And maybe some of those goals involve nutrition and feeding your kids. If so, you’ve hopped on my blog at just the right time.
There’s no better time than now—the New Year—to take a personal assessment of where you are at with feeding your kids. And to check in with your feeding mindset.
Is the job of feeding your family getting harder, rather than easier? Is your system breaking down around you? Do you see more drama at the table? Emotional meltdowns?
Or, maybe you (secretly) dread mealtime.
I find that many parents are harder on themselves when it comes to feeding their children than is warranted. Part of this is guilt. And the other part is that the job of feeding kids is just plain hard sometimes.
Actually, I find that parents are doing better than they think.
If you can change your outlook on the job of nourishing your child as a whole, I bet you will feel better about it, and even do a better job of it.
Rather than lamenting on the drudgery of it all, focus your thoughts on something that will bring more meaning to the job.
The End Result
Feeding kids is an 18-year job. From infancy throughout the teen years, those daily meals, nutrition lessons, and feeding systems shape how your child thinks about food. When you get down in the dumps, just remember that it is all for a good reason: the end result.
A healthy, happy, no-hang-ups-with-food kid.
The kind of kid that knows what to eat, when to eat, how to exercise, take care of themselves, and cook as they verge on adulthood.
Keep this end result in mind as you work to get that dinner on the table tonight.
A Sense of Trust
Sometimes it’s hard to have faith in something you cannot see. Like, you cannot see what your child will look like as a young adult. Will he be healthy? Will she be an adventurous eater? Will he value physical activity? Will she take care of her body?
It’s just really hard to know. One thing that keeps me on track is a sense of trust that it will all work out in the end.
I know that when trust is broken or doesn’t exist, parents may become more controlling with food and feeding. The antidote? Trust in the nutrition strategies and systems you have set up for your family. And if you don’t have them in place yet, wander around the blog for more information—I’m sure you’ll find it!
If you follow this blog, you already know I am a big boundary person. Personally, I believe boundaries around food are essential to successful eating and feeding. If you’re new here, you might think that sounds harsh, but hear me out.
Imagine if you close your kitchen after meals and snacks. Your child comes to you and asks for extra food. You respond, “I’m sorry, buddy, but the kitchen is closed right now. It will open at 3 pm for snack—just a few more minutes!” Your child smiles and says, “OK!”
How easy and positive is that?!
Now, maybe you’re of a cynical mind, or you have a child that wouldn’t be so easy-going, and you’re thinking: Jill is nuts! This would never work!
I beg to differ. Setting up boundaries is merely setting up a system for feeding. Boundaries aren’t permanent—they can be moved or adjusted—but they put in place a go-to system for managing your child around food. Boundaries set a structure and tone for eating, and a system to use for feeding your child.
Just think of the alternative: No boundaries.
That’s a recipe for food chaos: Overeating. Undereating. Poor food choices. Eating all the time.
Boundaries help you bring order to the kitchen, food, and feeding.
If you want to learn more about boundaries, check out these two posts:
What mindset helps you stay on track with feeding your child?
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: January 5, 2016
Updated on: May 8, 2019