October 17, 2021

Acqua NYC

Fit And Go Forward

Modeling healthy relationships with food and body image

Many parents are focused on healthy resolutions in the new year. Dr. Beurkens shares tips to model positive messages and behaviors.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While lots of us are focusing on resolutions to get healthier in this new year, it’s really important to remember that our children and watching and learning from us.

Holistic child psychologist Dr. Nicole Beurkens shares some important tips to help model positive messages and behaviors for children.

“Children look to parents as models for everything in life, whether we like it or not! This includes the modeling we provide for them around food, health, and body image,” said Dr. Beurkens. “Research has shown that children who grow up in homes where food choices are connected to weight, or where parents are constantly dieting or putting themselves down, end up having more problematic relationships with food and worse body image themselves. 

“No parent intends for their kids to get this message, but it often happens without us realizing it,” Dr. Beurkens continued.

Many parents are focused on January resolutions around eating, weight, and health right now. Here are some important things to help model positive messages and behaviors for children:

  • Avoid talking about your weight or weight-loss diets in front of your children.
  • Talk about food in relation to what it does for your brain and body. Use words like strong, healthy, focused, positive mood. (Ex: When I eat that sugary cereal in the morning, I feel unfocused and get a headache. Eating eggs and sausage helps me be more productive and I have more energy.)
  • Avoid weighing yourself or making negative comments about your own body where they can see or hear you.
  • Make positive comments about yourself and your body in front of your kids. (Ex: I’m so proud of how strong my body is that I can carry you up the stairs!)
  • Focus on the things you and your family are doing to support overall health and wellness, and not weight specifically.

For more insights like these visit Dr. Beurkens website.

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