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Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility in Feeding

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Before leaving for my Xmas vacation, I attended an excellent workshop sponsored by the Orange County and Los Angeles Regional Nutrition Networks, entitled "Nutrition Education for Parents - Getting to the Next Level". A lot of great resources were provided and different techniques were talked about. But what seemed to come up over and over again in the many presentations was Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility of Feeding. Ellyn Satter is a highly respected pioneer in child feeding practices and author of several how-to books.

I've talked about some of her concepts before but now that the New Year is upon us and folks are thinking about starting new habits, I felt compelled to share her Division of Responsibility of Feeding. Enjoy and I am curious to hear your thoughts on this:

The Division of Responsibility for Toddlers through Adolescents
• The parent is responsible for what, when, where
• The child is responsible for how much and whether

Jobs parents need to do with feeding include:
• Choose and prepare the food
• Provide regular meals and snacks
• Make eating times pleasant
• Show children what they have to learn about food and mealtime behavior
• Not let children graze for food or beverages between times
• Let children grow up to get bodies that are right for them

Fundamental to parents’ jobs is trusting children to decide how much and whether to eat. If parents do their jobs with feeding, children do their jobs with eating:
• Children will eat
• They will eat the amount they need
• They will eat an increasing variety of food
• They will grow predictably
• They will learn to behave well at the table

"Crossing the lines of Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding is likely to create feeding problems and distort growth. Trying to control what or how much a child eats or how his body turns out crosses the lines. So does letting the child dictate the family menu. For a further explanation of the division of responsibility, see any of Ellyn Satter's four books"; (from www.ellynsatter.com)

*Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming
*Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense
*Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family
*How To Get Your Kid To Eat... But Not Too Much

You can find these on her website at www.ellynsatter.com
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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