December 12, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter
Children may come to associate food with happiness starting as an infant by always being comforted with a bottle when crying, as well as later in life at holiday or family parties where adults show their love and care by giving children cookies and other sweets. After these associations are made, children tend to resort to food when they are emotionally strained or feeling anxious about school or peers. First, it is important to determine whether your son or daughter is eating for the right reasons. If you find that he/she is constantly eating at times other than meal and snack times, try intervening by:
– Avoid using food rewards. Instead, use a reward that is unrelated to eating, such as stickers or a new toy for big successes. Furthermore, do not underestimate the effect of verbal congratulations and praise.
– Be supportive. Sometimes it’s easy to say negative things to embarrass your child into changing their habits, but ultimately these strategies will not elicit long-term changes. It is more helpful to use positive reinforcement for good behavior.