Blog on fostering mental health in the Indian school system. It explores behavioral symptoms, and provides practical suggestions on strategies and instructional adaptations in the classroom. Topics covered include side effects of medication and their impact in the classoom, advocacy skills and locating therapeutic resources to help the student(s).
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Thursday, January 5, 2012
Start at the Beginning...Mealtimes
“Eat, eat,” the young mom forced food into her child’s
mouth. The child started to gag, but the mom was relentless. She wasn’t giving
up until her child finished all the food in front of him. In her mind, not feeding
the entire quantity was tantamount to neglecting her child’s health.
Sound familiar? I bet you’ve all come across this situation.
Some people would have it that it is a control issue. I don’t think so.
Culturally we believe that three full meals are important and that food served on
a plate should be eaten. It starts there and gradually moves on to the weight
issue. Every child has to be a certain weight…your child should weigh the same
as your neighbors’…forget the correlation between height and activity or just
Young children listen to their body. They pick up on the
signals that their brain sends when their stomach is full. Trust your child’s instincts. When she (or he) says she is full,
accept that she is full. Overeating is a learned habit.
Different children need different calorific intake. So where
an active child eats a certain number of idlis or rotis, another child may eat
less. It is absolutely normal.
Children should learn to chew and eat slowly. If your daily
routine comes with time constraints then work out a menu which doesn’t include
several courses. How often do you rush your child at mealtimes?
Make mealtimes interesting. Did you know that our taste buds
change as we grow older? That means your child will have a more varied diet as
she grows older. So don’t worry if she doesn’t eat some dish or vegetable right
from the time you start on solids. After the Human Body unit one of my kindergarteners
commented, “Ms. S, I think I’ll like tomatoes when I grow up. But right now my
taste buds say no, thank you!” Be patient and your child will try new foods in time.
If you are concerned that your child is not getting
nutrients from a particular food group or item then find suitable substitutes.
Parents are more willing to adapt to food allergies. If their child is allergic
to lactose, they are ok with soy milk or other products. But if the child says
no to milk because she dislikes it, that becomes a huge issue. Give your child