Do your children eat out of boredom? Are they constantly eating while in front of the TV? Often, children will eat simply because they have nothing else to do. This could also be because they have gotten so accustomed to eating snacks at movie time or a meal while watching TV. However, these unhealthy eating habits can lead to overeating, obesity, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and other health problems.
Deterring your children from eating out of boredom can be difficult. The eating habits you teach your children as the measures you take to counteract their boredom, both have an effect on their health potential in the near future.
If your children beg you, over and over, for a snack, do you say yes? If you say yes, do you know when they last ate? If they had lunch thirty minutes ago, they shouldn’t actually be hungry, unless you’re feeding them crap (just keeping it real). What about at meal time? Do you sit at the dinner table as a family to eat or do you sit in front of the TV? This habit can prime your children’s brains to feel the need to eat every time they watch TV. Consider replacing these poor eating habits with healthy ones, such as eating meals at the table as a family and designating snack times that are appropriately spaced between meals.
Once again, allowing your child to sit in front of the TV to eat can leave them feeling the need to eat, even if they aren’t hungry. Is food entertainment or sustenance? Look for ways to keep your children busy and entertained without using food; this can have a huge impact on their eating habits. First, they won’t be constantly eating or overeating simply because they have nothing to do. Second, they will likely be engaging in healthy activities, such as playing outside to enhance physical health, doing arts and crafts to enhance their creative minds, or doing chores around the house to enhance responsibility. If you see your children reach for a snack right after lunch, encourage them to go outside for some fresh air and exercise first. Enforcing eating habits or rules can encourage healthy eating and activity in your children.
Hopefully now you understand the importance of teaching healthy eating habits and finding ways to entertain your children without food. Remember, eating meals at the table, having designated snack times, and playing outside are just a few of the methods you can use to deter your children from eating out of boredom. I encourage you to come up with your own ways as well to find a way that works best for you and your children.
Are Your Children Hungry or Just Bored? Healthy Children. November 2015. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Are-Your-Kids-Hungry-or-Just-Bored-.aspx
Stiffelman, Susan. Overweight Children: How to Get Kids to Stop Eating Out of Boredom. Huffpost. October 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/19/kid-overeating_n_1019715.html
Trachtenberg, Jennifer. How to Spot and Stop Compulsive Eating. Oprah.com. July 2010. http://www.oprah.com/health/how-to-spot-and-stop-compulsive-eating-children/all