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Stefanie Tsabar

How to help kids tune in to their bodies


I hope you had a fun Halloween with your little one! I’m sure, like most parents, you have a love-hate relationship with this sugar-infested holiday! 🙂

You’re probably feeling conflicted between letting your child enjoy and savor her candy and wanting to deplete her stash while she sleeps!

I bet you’ve wished that your child would be happy with just a few pieces of candy by tuning in to her body.

Or, separately you’ve probably hoped that your child would make healthier choices in general by choosing to eat more fruits and vegetables.

For years, I would throw away a bunch of my son’s candy at night while he was sleeping. But, it always felt bad, and as he got older, he could tell that his stash was getting smaller!

I felt like the only thing I doing was creating distrust.

Essentially, I was teaching him that he could never be trusted to self-regulate his own eating when it comes to sweets and – perhaps worse – he couldn’t trust his own mother!

None of us wants to engender a distrustful relationship with our kids, so I knew I had to figure out another way.

I finally found 5 ways that help kids tune in to their bodies, whether it’s eating sweets in moderation or choosing to eat more veggies.

This year on Halloween, my son ate some of his candy in between houses while trick-or-treating. But, by the time we got home, he looked through his bag with total excitement and awe, but only ate two more pieces before setting it on the counter for another day.

Honestly, it was SHOCKING! I never knew that that would have been a possibility a few years ago, and I was completely awestruck that the steps I’ve been following work like magic!

In today’s video, I walk you through the 5 ways to help kids tune in to their bodies. They are:

  1. Babies are born tuned in. Understand that they already have the ability to self-regulate. All babies are born knowing when they are hungry or full. And, they learn naturally as they grow up when their bodies are craving familiar and comforting foods versus the adventure of trying something new. So, we are not as much teaching them to tune into their bodies as much as we are helping them to reconnect to their inner cues.
  2. Trial and error. We give our kids so much freedom to try and fail at new things in all areas of life, except when it comes to eating. It’s understandable because we’re all so worried about our kiddos’ health and weight. But, it’s not fair or realistic to expect perfection from our kids at every meal. They need the freedom to make (a lot of) mistakes because it’s the only way they’ll learn to truly tune in and listen to their bodies.
  3. Division of Responsibility. A division of responsibility means that parents and children have distinct jobs when it comes to food. Parents have “feeding jobs” and kids have “eating jobs.” Parents’ jobs are WHAT, WHEN AND WHERE, and kids’ jobs are: HOW MUCH AND WHETHER. For example, parents choose a variety of foods to serve and then kids get to choose what they put into their mouths. Children learn how to tune in to their bodies when they are allowed to make choices about what they eat within these safe boundaries.
  4. Daily schedule. Having a set schedule for all meals and snacks allows kids to relax in between meals knowing that another opportunity to eat is coming up soon. And, when they are relaxed, they can tune in to their bodies more readily because they are grounded and present rather than worried about their next snack.
  5. Familiar and comforting foods. Kids will be able to naturally tune in to their bodies when they are given food that they are already comfortable eating. When kids come to the table and see only new food, they have a fight or flight reaction and either lose their appetites completely or start whining due to anxiety. But, if they feel supported at the table by seeing familiar foods, then they also are more likely to try new foods more readily.

[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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