Telling your child to eat an apple so they stay healthy, will work better than telling them not to eat a cookie because it will make them fat.
According to a new study, if you want to inculcate healthy eating habits in your child, tell them what they ‘can’ eat rather than telling them what they ‘can’t’. The ‘don’t’ message doesn’t work for most of us, neither does it work for children. The findings showed that focusing on ‘do’ is better than on ‘don’t’, which is true for a natural, healthy style of parenting. This means, stressing the benefits of eating healthy foods is more effective than warning the kids against the harms of eating unhealthy foods. As one of the researchers told the parents, it’s better to focus on the benefits of broccoli and really explain the health angle to the kids, rather than telling them about the harm of hamburgers.
Through this study, it was found that, while negative messages worked best with experts, such as dieticians and physicians who were highly involved and knowledgeable in the area, most people who did not know a lot about nutrition would rather be told what they should eat and why it is good for them.