So Valentine’s Day is coming up. How are you thinking of showing your love? Do your children celebrate in school? I ask you to take some time to think, “Does your child equate Valentine’s Day with chocolate hearts?” or the message of “We show love with candy?” If your child associates holidays or even birthdays with food/candy, especially “treats,” now is the time to create a new healthy association.
So why I am saying this? Because when kids equate food with love, they may eventually look to food for love when they are lonely, feel empty, and/or feel sad. This situation can domino as an adult and even turn into emotional eating and binge eating. Ideally, we teach kids that food and feelings should not be merged, well not all of the time anyway. Rather, food is fuel for wellness, and feelings are feelings that are best managed with coping skills.
This holiday, show your love with hugs and kisses! Plan a special night for the whole family.
Give your child a card that lists all the reasons why you love them. Gift them a heart picture frame with a family picture. Can you share some chocolate? Well, of course you can! The idea is to teach your child how to express love and celebrate in meaningful and truly special ways. Ideally you want your child to equate love with family or something kind, but not just food.
Here are some ideas to create new Valentine’s Day traditions!
- Create construction paper flowers with your children: on each petal, you and your child can write what makes him/her special and unique.
- Practice kindness for the fourteen days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Remember that actions speak louder than words.
- Frame and gift a picture of the family doing something together that everyone loves.
- Plan a family outing on Valentine’s Day to go ice skating or bowling in honor of celebrating your love and the love of life.
- Hang a chalkboard in your kitchen with all the ways that your family can express love.
- Think of what makes you feel good inside and incorporate that into your family.
- Ask teachers at school to have parents come in to read books about love and kindness rather than giving bags of chocolate
- Send cards to family and friends listing all the fun times you have shared.
- Turn off you iPhones, screens, and mind! Just devote the night to your child/children. Play games, read, and just be together.
You can fill in the rest. Let us know what #10 is for you.
The above may not be for everyone, but it is definitely one of the many things I want to do for my kids and clients, with the hope that they never have to experience disordered eating and/or an eating disorder.