My 4 ½ year old son, Evan, was on quite a roll this morning! He started off by telling me his leg hurt. I asked him if he hit it on something and he said no. I then explained that when his body grows, it can cause his body to hurt sometimes. He said, “Oh, I know why! I think I ate too much candy for Halloween.” I stopped in my tracks and smiled. “Really? You think that’s why?” He said, “Yes. Mommy, will you give me something healthy to eat? I need to make my leg feel better.” I almost fell over. I explained to him that the foods he ate for breakfast were actually healthy (whole grain waffles, yogurt, orange juice) so that should make his leg feel better soon.
I think Evan remembered me telling he and his sister about how candy can make them feel “yucky” if they eat too much. I’ve explained that eating some candy is fine, but eating a lot can make them feel sick and can even take some of their “super powers” away. Even when I thought Evan wasn’t listening, I think that made an impression on him after all.
As parents, let’s remember to tell our children the “why’s” behind being healthy. Avoid making associations between food and weight or “to avoid getting granny’s sugar disease,” but instead mention things that matter to them right now. Evan loves soccer, being strong, smart and running fast. I tell him that eating healthy foods help him with those things and he gets it. Get them invested in the healthy lifestyle for their own reasons; it will stick with them for the rest of their lives. [By the way, he recently started eating broccoli after over 3 years of rejecting it on his plate and now he says it’s his favorite food. Perserverance in healthy messgaging and exposure pays off!]
Stick with those positive messages, Mom and Dad. They are listening even when you don’t think they are. I was reminded today that my son is listening to me. J
Check out my post last year will give you ideas on what to do with leftover candy: Operation Halloween Candy: The Party’s Over!