I will not be supporting my prep-aged son to do these home-schooling lessons.
Below is the letter I wrote to the teacher to inform her why I was not supporting my son to diet and what I would be doing instead.
Thank you for the home-schooling resources for this week. I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be supporting my son to complete the ‘My Healthy Meal’ and ‘Food’ worksheets because I have more suitable activities to do that are age-appropriate and support a positive relationship with food and his body.
I understand the content to teach under the QLD Curriculum is very broad relating to Health and Physical Education – “Identify actions that promote health, safety and wellbeing”. I can see where the unhealthy/healthy/sometimes/everyday food comes from when looking at the example statement listed under the ‘elaborations’ – “grouping foods into categories such as food groups and ‘always’ and ‘sometimes’ foods. The content does have potential to be explored without moralistic language or a healthism rhetoric.
I will be focusing on the following to “promote health, safety and wellbeing” instead:
- To focus on food exposure.
- To keep judgement out of eating. No-one is a ‘good’ person for eating specific foods. E.g. A child is not ‘good’ for eating vegetables and ‘bad’ for not eating vegetables
- To appreciate food.
- To like/love food.
- To enjoy a wide variety of food.
- What food does for us, how it affects our body and makes us feel.
- Where food comes from.
- How many factors influence food and eating. Such factors include medical (including allergies), financial, cultural, religious, social, time and energy issues, a parent’s own history around food and values, and, more importantly, the needs of the child.
- How senses can help us to learn more about food and appreciate it.
- To trust our bodies.
- To continue to respect, accept and like/love bodies.
- What their body can do and what bodies, in general, can do.
- Bodies are meant to look different and that all bodies are good bodies.
- To eat food for nourishment, enjoyment, satisfaction and survival.
- How to eat intuitively or work to reconnect with internal body signals – Learn how to make food choices based on their appetite. Kids need to learn to make food choices of ‘how much’ to eat and ‘whether’ they eat. They also need to learn to eat most of the time when they are hungry, stop eating when they are comfortably full and choose foods they feel like eating.
- What appetites feel like and what purpose it serves – How appetite varies throughout the day, from day to day depending on the body’s needs.
The above alternatives are protective against diet mentality and diet culture that is unfortunately all too common in our society, as seen in my work as a dietitian. It perpetuates harmful healthism and weight bias, weight stigma and ultimately undermines trust in our kids’ body wisdom which increases their risk of developing disordered eating and eating disorders.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
My son looks forward to re-joining you in the classroom.