Friday, April 1, 2011

Some Things I'd Prefer They Not Teach My Kids

We've had a couple incidents around here that have got me rolling my eyes at the people who think that teaching my very young kids about health is a good idea. Wyatt came home from school today and immediately started going on about how bread and tortillas (tortillas?) have sugar in them and can rot his teeth out. Apparently, he watched some video about dental health or something along those lines at school.

As for Oscar, he caught some healthy eating message in between cartoons on PBS the other day that had him running around the house singing, "Don't supersize me!" over and over again. It was basically all about telling kids to say no to extra servings.

I do understand that there's a real obesity issue going on, and I also know these health spots are aimed at teaching kids better habits. Let's face it, though, the child running through the house singing, "Don't supersize me!" weighs all of 30 pounds dripping wet. He barely eats his dinner, which we are considering renaming "breakfast" just because the word "dinner" seems to send him fleeing for his life. Encouraging him to push his food away is really not helpful. Trust me, he's got that one down already.

And teaching my kid that tortillas and bread have excess sugars in them? As an adult, I understand where they were going with this, but Wyatt had no idea. He mostly just got the message that these two things were somehow unhealthy for him. At six, he's not ready to understand glucose. If they really wanted to harp on something, soda and candy would have been much better candidates.

Maybe I'm wrong, but the roots of childhood obesity seem to lay in the responsible adults in these kids' lives, not whether or not the school or TV infomercials are laying out the right message about health. My kids are a healthy weight because of several factors, the prime factor being that I work hard to provide healthy food for them and limit the junk around here. I do terrible things like make them eat soup, don't let Wyatt buy chips at school for snack, and only occasionally provide sweets, most of which have been made at home. Soda is something we only get when we eat out, which is not too often these days. Otherwise, it's water or milk, with juice for breakfast only.

My point is, the real education needs to happen with the parents, not the kids. I've discovered that almost none of these "healthy" messages that we've seen on TV are effective for my kids. Most times, they pick up on something odd and run with it, while the main message goes right over their heads. (Hence the refrain of "Don't supersize me!" in our home now - I will laugh if he ever asks me to sing it to him for his bedtime song.)

Ultimately, I'm responsible for my children's weight. If they don't get enough exercise or will only eat pizza all day (pizza that I would, of course, have to be providing for them), that's all on me. They have no medical condition that affects their weight. Only a world full of junk. My job is to teach them to navigate it. No one else is ever going to be able to do this more effectively.

3 sonar pings:

mommymichael said...

Amen! And we have the same eating habits, and the same sized children it would seem. I have a hell of a time getting my 4 year old to eat more than 2 bites of ANYTHING. Drives me nuts.

Jenn said...

I TOTALLY get what you are talking about girl!!

and food isn't the only thing they're taking the responsibility out of the parents hands to teach....

I've got three years before my oldest is even in school but....it's enough to make me SERIOUSLY consider homeschooling!

Deila said...

oh, the public school system. I have never felt better since I pulled my kids out. I am kind of a rebel. But at least I dont have those things to deal with or parent teacher conferences. Hope you are enjoying your vaca.