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I saw this pic with the caption “A surprise for the kids after school today – its summer!!!” on someone’s Facebook post today. And the person who posted it has gotten 30 likes and many affirming “you are an awesome mom, what a great idea!” comments.
As a professional who helps adults “unlearn” patterns of emotional eating so they can get to a healthy weight, this is disturbing.Emotional eating patterns are learned: A kid who is given a junk food “surprise” like this learns to associate junk food with summer fun. A child who is given candy after a big accomplishment may grow up using candy as a reward for a job well done. A kid who is given cookies as a way to stop crying may learn to link cookies with comfort.
So, as an adult realize that this is why you may connect food and fun. As a parent, please help your kids associate fun, accomplishment and comfort with something other than food.