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Stefanie Tsabar

Something personal: My secret for teaching my son to eat mindfully



When my son was a baby, I was going through extraordinary circumstances that caused me to have panic attacks.

None of us were getting much sleep, and I was anxious all the time. I developed sores on my hands from so much stress and such little sleep.

My husband had the job of putting our son to sleep at night. It would take hours.

That is, until we tried something new.

My husband noticed that when I was able to calm myself down, however momentarily, our son would fall asleep instantly.

So, we did an experiment. I went into our bedroom and meditated, while my husband stayed in our son’s room rocking him to sleep.

The moment that I felt myself relax and release my anxiety, I would look at my clock. In the baby’s room, my husband would look at his clock the moment our son fell asleep.

Night after night, it was exactly the same time. We would walk out of our respective rooms and meet in the hallway with both a smile and dumbfounded look on our faces.

Gratefully, I have gotten the help I needed to overcome my panic attacks all those years ago.

But, still, anxieties do linger and trigger me sometimes – especially with food – and my son’s calmness at the table appears to be correlated to what I’m feeling.

What I’ve learned is that parents’ anxieties can disrupt children’s natural rhythms, whether it’s with sleeping, eating, socializing, etc.

So, instead of focusing on how I can fix these “problems” in my son, I’ve learned to turn my attention toward healing my own triggers.

Once I am calm and present, those “problems” tend to disappear.

Of course, it’s important to recognize that kids are their very own people and don’t do things solely in reaction to their parents’ emotions. And, of course, they need our help for many things. 

That said, the most powerful way I’ve learned to teach my son to tune in to his body, eat mindfully and make healthy choices is not with feeding strategies (although they are important).

It’s by working on my own triggers with food, body image, etc.

The good news is that the longer I work on myself, the calmer I am at the table and otherwise, and then the more my son is able to find his own natural rhythms in all regards.

Can you relate? Do your kids sit at the table longer, eat better, sleep better when you are feeling more grounded?

[Did you like this article? If so, I would be so grateful if you would share it with all of your friends!]

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