I think of mindfulness as the act of being present and mindful in every moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it as “paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”
As adults we know the value of sitting down to eat, focusing on our food and limiting distractions. But, how often do we eat in the car or while checking email? How often do we see toddlers running around the playground with their little snacks?
We know that children mimic what they see in their daily lives. If we are grabbing bites to eat on the run, skipping meals and not taking the time to truly reflect on what we need to nourish our bodies, this is what they will learn. To be truly aware of what we are putting into our bodies, we need to practice mindfulness. Children are the same.
If the children we care for experience us practicing mindfulness, they will have a better chance of learning how to be truly present in all aspects of their lives. As this relates to food, they will be able to really know if they are hungry, how much to eat and what to eat. They will be able to feel the difference in their bodies when they take the time to sit down and eat a relaxing meal. They will be more likely to know how to truly nourish their lives and their bodies. I believe they will be healthier.
I have written a series of posts focusing on a different aspect of mindful eating for children. When I first wrote them, my intention was to use the days following each post to work on implementing each aspect more deeply into my own life. You are welcome to do the same.
This is the work of planting seeds for our children in the hopes that one day we will be able to see them take root and grow.
This series continues with Mindful Eating for Children: Minimize Distractions.