Literature/Programs for Elementary School Kids with Eating Issues

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeacherShelly, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Jul 29, 2009

    Dear Everyone,

    I'm trying not to be crazy about this, but my 7 year old/going into 2nd grade daughter seems to be showing signs of eating issues. She is very slim and active, beautiful and healthy. She is saying, "I'm just not very hungry," to explain eating only a few bites of dinner or lunch. She "isn't hungry" at breakfast time, and would like to skip eating it. In addition, she usually includes the word "thin" in her description of herself. "Sissy and I are cute and thin," is common. "We're thin and cute." She tries to look fashionable, too, so "all the boys will fall in love with me." She likes to wear tops and dresses with a tie at the waist and will cinch them so tight.

    So, teachers, I want to be knowledgeable and educated about eating disorders while my daughters are still young. I do not want to zoom in and "fix" things which I know from experience make things worse, especially between a mother and daughter. I want to focus on health and not looks. All suggestions welcome. Especially since I see this in my classroom, too, with 2nd and 3rd grade girls skipping meals.

    Shelly
     
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  3. 2inspire

    2inspire Companion

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    Jul 29, 2009

    Your daughter sounds very much like I did at a young age (and I have never had an eating disorder). First-I would make an appointment with her doctor. Let the nurse know your concerns when you make the appointment and let the doctor decie are de if there are true concerns. I was bullied into having the school believe I had an eating disorder when I was younger. My 'friends' would tell the couns., nurse etc that I didn't eat lunch, that I was too thin etc and it made school life very difficult (school didn't believe me at first).

    Think about how you (or other close adults) have described your daughter to others in front of her? Has anyone used adjectives of thin that she could be picking up.

    As for books... http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_p_n_age_range_1?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Cn%3A%211000%2Ck%3Aeating+disorders%2Cn%3A4%2Cp_n_age_range%3A673422011&bbn=4&keywords=eating+disorders&ie=UTF8&qid=1248924653&rnid=673420011

    I know that I will probably have a different take on this due to my experiences with this topic (and hopefully I didn't come off insuinating you are trying to prove your daughter has an eating disorder. I know you are just concerned.)
     
  4. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Wow, sorry you had those rough experiences, 2inspire. Sometimes we have a habit of pathologizing everything. I don't think my girl has an eating disorder, but she is giving me signs of concern. I want to hopefully change what I'm doing that might be contributing. I know we have all said what cute skinny-minis the girls are (they are twins, although only one is showing me signs of image issues). I also have let them see too many TV shows with commercials (diet pills, weight loss plans, etc) and all the cartoons for older-than-preschool kids (meaning older than would watch Dora) have super-skinny female characters.

    My husband and I agreed tonight to one hour of pre-screened TV per day for the rest of the summer. No more tween type cartoons (Ben 10 Alien Force, Pokemon) and no more commercials.

    In addition, I want to spend more time modeling healthy choices for her. Think-aloud while picking out foods, while going outside to get fresh air and exercise.

    See... I still worry that I'm overdoing it. Body image is one of the biggest issues a young female faces and I want both my girls to be healthy.
     
  5. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I'm sure you do this, but promote a lot of family meals. Cook some new foods with your daughters and get them interested in cooking if they are not already. Bring in lots of fruits and vegetables to discuss healthy choices. Maybe incorporate math a little.

    This article is extreme, but still good to read- http://eatingdisorders.suite101.com/article.cfm/eating_disorders_in_children

    Hmm, other thoughts (I don't know)-
    - Do you ever discuss your own weight? (I don't even know what you look like. Haha :) )
    - It says on some other website to never tell your daughter she is not fat, because she may see it as an argument. (This was even more extreme and not where you are, obviously- http://www.childrentoday.com/expert...year-old-has-started-saying-she-s-fat-and-547)
     
  6. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    By the way, I had an eating disorder (not anorexia or bulimia, I just didn't eat) during my sophomore year of high school. I went from 138 to 118 pretty fast, but it was all riled on by friends who treated me with very little respect at the time. All I ever heard was, "You're fat. Go on a diet. We want to be models. You'll never be like us if you don't lose weight."

    Funny, only one of the three of us was on the taller side. The main instigator was maybe 5'5" or 5'6". I'm 5'4" and would never want to model, anyway, but I was VERY self-conscious at the time.
     
  7. TeacherShelly

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    Ms.Jasztal, thanks for sharing that with me. My niece has what you describe, where she just stops eating. She is being treated for it, thank goodness, because she told her mom. That's one thing I want to keep up forever, the lines of communication with my girls. My niece told her mom during her first year of college - and it had been going on for 1.5 years prior. She seems like THE most confident, beautiful, athletic, bright young woman and no one had any idea.

    My daughter loves nearly all fruit and some veggies. She likes very few meats, so we always talk about how she can get protein. Interestingly, she isn't a big cook but loves to bake sweets - she has a sweet tooth!

    I remembered while typing this that I have a book called, "How to Get your Kid to Eat, but Not Too Much," which I should get out. I bought it when the babies actually were babies and it was recommended to me. The basic premise is that eating is THEIR thing, not MY thing and they should have lots of choice among a selection of healthy fare. I'm gonna go get it out...
     
  8. Hoot Owl

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    Oh my we worry about our girls for sure and potential image problems. Often times eating is the only thing they actually have control over in their lives. The book mentioned above sounds interesting.

    Are there older girls, cousins or neighbors, they're trying to model?

    I always made sure my DD took supplemental vitamins.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  10. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Thanks, everyone.

    OK, in the light of a new day, I think I have an idea. The focus has to go AWAY from food. My girl has a great sense of healthful eating, prefers healthy food, and is pretty good at listening to her body. If I push her to eat what I think she should (meaning, more protein, more fat) it might become a control issue between us, which I emphatically don't want.

    So, I'll try the counterintuitive approach for a while. Turn the focus on food OFF. Don't replace it with anything, just trust that she's fine. SHe had her 7 yo checkup in May and is the picture of health. When she brings up coloring her hair blonde, wanting blue eyes (doggone barbie) I'll talk about the variety of beauty.
    I don't know....

    So that book I have is copyright 1987. It doesn't even talk about body image until the adolescent section, and even then it's couched in terms of helping the child not get fat. Not much help.

    I will check out that book, czacza. Thanks!
     
  11. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Jul 30, 2009

    I would also cut out tween and teen magazines. I had horrible issues as a tween and teen because of the covers of Seventeen magazine!

    Also, see this:
    http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com/
     
  12. TeacherShelly

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    Thanks, Missy, I love the Dove campaign. Good on them (and us).

    About the mags, she doesn't read them. BUT. The girl characters in the graphic novels are completely unrealistic. Even Nancy Drew, the graphic novel version, has waaay too long of legs, too tiny a waist, and so on... She LOVES all the graphic novels (pokemon, nancy drew, hardy boys, ben 10, etc). Now that I think of it, my favorite kid movies with girl heroes are from Japan and the girls look really tall and thin too.

    What now, NO MEDIA? I could do it, too.
     
  13. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    There are some great books out there that focus on girls. I'd still go for Nancy Drew, but perhaps find a cover where her waist isn't tiny. I bet there are variations on the covers. I cannot think of many great books for girls right now, though, because I am a little drained... plus she is seven, right?

    I'd stick to Bailey School Kids and books that are good for her age. :)

    When she gets interested in magazines, Girls Life is one of the better magazines specifically for girls. This one seems pretty decent, too- http://www.newmoon.com/. Neither really seem to focus on the opposite sex too much. Then Stone Soup is great for writing.

    Maybe around fifth grade or so, Emma Jean Lazarus is a great book by Lauren Tarshis.
     
  14. TeacherShelly

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    It's not as much the cover as the graphic novels, where it's like a comic book inside. KWIM? She is an excellent reader, so I am going to insist on chapter books, not graphic novels.
     
  15. Ms.Jasztal

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    Chapter books are great for her to get into! I kept editing my post, so I wasn't seeing you were responding. I didn't notice about the graphic novels, either- I thought it was just the cover, but I do remember seeing Kristy's Great Idea from the Baby-Sitters Club as a graphic novel once.

    If she loves animals, then there is so much out there. Ohh! Vet Volunteers is great- http://www.amazon.com/Fight-Life-Wild-at-Heart/dp/1584850434
     
  16. TeacherShelly

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    MsJasztal, I got chills when I first saw the new moon site you linked. Thank YOU. That is the kind of thing I'm looking for. I already send her to a school where childhood seems stretched out, mercifully, and try to be a good role model for her. This mag is perfect. Thank you!
     
  17. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Good! :) I personally think this may be a good magazine for fourth grade, too, because I want them to maintain their youthful joys for as long as possible. My grade level is where things seem to transition a lot in the way of hormones, and there is always a big enough difference in the way they approach others between the beginning and end of the school year.
     
  18. TeacherShelly

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    Ya it says it's for girls 8-11. That would include 3rd & 4th grade... bless em for trying to grow up so darn fast.
     
  19. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Oh, yeah...! I just went back to New Moon and saw what you mean! The theme is basically about positive body image, but it isn't preachy. It focuses on a lot of great topics girls like. :)

    A girl named Eden said something great- "I believe that true beauty comes from many places. It radiates from confidence, it comes from quiet seriousness, it comes from a feeling. To be truly beautiful, you have to believe that you are beautiful. Nothing can change that, and nothing ever will. Beauty comes from not speaking the insult, not placing the stamp on the angry letter, or standing up for what you believe in. Beauty comes from happiness and passion. It comes from staying true to yourself, keeping your head high, not caring what others think, smiling, bravery, and hope. This is my word on beauty." Wow...
     
  20. bandnerdtx

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    Jul 31, 2009

    There's another really great book called No Body's Perfect that's in the same vein as the Chicken Soup series... lots of little vignettes.
     

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