Dr. Beth Trammell is a licensed psychologist and an associate professor of psychology at Indiana University East. She is also an experienced clinician who has worked with kids and families for over 15 years in a variety of settings.
She engages parents and teachers in the community through online and community-based offerings, including having hard conversations with kids, making words matter about race and online book studies about the power of allowing kids to fail. Her expertise is behavioral and communication strategies for parents and teachers to help them connect, communicate and get kids to do what we need them to do, as well as developmentally appropriate responses to trauma, crisis and everyday stressors, and ways to help parents recognize and react more effectively.
Trammell explains how some kids might skip breakfast because their body just isn’t quite ready to eat first thing in the morning, and they also may be experiencing some level of worry or anxiety about their day to come. This is important for us to understand because we know that our kids need fuel for their body to do all the things they need to do throughout the day. Just like adults, having something in our bellies to keep us fueled for the rest of the day is very important.
She says that when kids don’t get fuel first thing in the morning, it can lead to behavioral problems. Just like some of us adults get “hangry,” kids are very similar except they aren’t able to understand that their belly is hungry. They may start acting out in negative ways, so you might see them express anger, or disrespect, or not listening, and one of the first things she usually says to teacher or parents is to make sure that the child has fuel for their bodies if they act this way. You can give them something small to eat, and then decide if they are still having behavioral problems.
Trammell describes how, for parents and guardians who are trying to get their child to eat breakfast, or trying to get them to eat breakfast more consistently, one option is to try to get on a routine of doing it. You should also try to have your kid become involved in some way. You can take them to the grocery store and have them pick out what they want for breakfast. You could give them multiple options as well, so they don’t get bored of eating the same thing.
When you give them options, especially with food that they are interested in, this could take one of the obstacles out in terms of getting them to eat breakfast. In conclusion, a great first step would be to get their opinion and give them options when it comes to choosing what they want for breakfast.
1. Why are children skipping out on breakfast, and why is this important?
2. What kind of psychological effects can skipping breakfast have on a child?
3. How can parents and guardians help their children to eat a healthy breakfast?