The Food-Focused Child

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. Psalm 104:27-28

 

Much of what we’ve talked about regarding children refers to children who are currently normal weight and helping them develop a heart that never turns toward the food instead of God. But what is your child is already overweight? By the time a child is two or three years old, they can be very food-focused and even obese. You might notice them asking for food constantly or talking about food all the time. I heard a story the other day about a roomful of preschoolers who were asked, “Why did God make your mouth?” Most of the children answered, “to talk,” or “to sing,” or “to whistle,” but the obese child who was normally shy and withdrawn came out of her shell and her eyes lit up as she said, “to eat with!”

 

The population is becoming more overweight, and the obesity age is dropping, resulting in unheard-of health issues in even the youngest of children. If your child is overweight, do not despair, but do not ignore any symptoms of a child’s being overly food-focused. Remember to stay on your knees about your OWN obedience first, and you will make the largest and fastest impression on the child that way.

 

Go through a Weigh Down class or read The Weigh Down Diet book so you will understand the foundational principles. Then teach your child about basic, physiological hunger. Teach them how God tells us that it is time to feed the body. If the child is older, you can help them learn to wait for mealtimes to feed the body. Explain to them that it is not right – or healthy – to just grab food every time their hands and mouth want it (just because they see cookies on the counter, for example). Compare it to grabbing toys away from other children just because they want that toy right NOW. Help re-direct their head hunger and seek out what God wants them to spend time on instead of thinking about the food. Head-hunger is a emptiness in the heart and needs to be filled, so find a way to fill it with God! Take a walk, go out to play, or read a story. Then, at the mealtime when everybody is hungry, be sure to praise God and thank Him for the wonderful variety of foods (including the cookies) that He provides to feed the body!

 

(Excerpt from Feeding Children Physically and Spiritually, by Gwen Shamblin)