There are ways to help your child if you are worried about their weight besides controlling what they eat. Since children who are overweight or obese are likely to become overweight adults, it is imperative that healthy habits are instilled in children at a young age. Parents play a huge role in developing these healthy habits in children, and therefore, it is important to help them in any way that we can! Along with increased physical activity, behavioral goals are imperative in successful weight loss and weight maintenance. Here are 7 ways to help your child if you are worried about their weight.
1. Make It a Family Affair
There are several ways to help your child if you are worried about their weight, and making healthy eating a family affair is one of the first things to do! Regardless of the size of anyone in your family, everyone should be eating healthy, not only for what it does to the outside of your body, but more importantly, the inside of your body too. If one child in your family is overweight and the others are not, even still, no one should be eating any differently. Each child (and parents too) should be eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins. By making it a family affair everyone will benefit!
2. Be Positive and Encouraging
Just like in all other areas of life, if you are worried about your child’s weight, it is important to remain positive and encourage them rather than beating them up with negativity. As children, weight can play a large factor in self-esteem. Help them understand that their self-worth and self-value have nothing to do with how much they weigh. By focusing on the positive you are encouraging them to be their best self and make healthy decisions every day. Focus on the things they do enjoy rather than the things you wish they wouldn’t eat or drink, such as their favorite healthy foods or the kinds of activities they like most!
3. Rethink Beverages
When it comes to beverages, most people don’t even realize how many calories they are drinking in one sitting. Things like soda, juice, sweetened tea and other fruit flavored beverages can provide a large chunk of calories for children (adults too!). Encourage that they drink water instead and avoid bringing any sugar-sweetened beverages in the house. Use things like lemons, limes and orange slices to add a little bit of flavor to their water instead.
4. Set a Schedule
Whether or not they realize it, most kids crave and love a set schedule. By defining a schedule, they know what to expect and when to expect it. Depending on their age, encourage three consistent meal times and a few low-calorie snacks throughout the day. This will help them get into healthy eating habits at a young age that will carry into their adulthood.
5. Keep Healthy Foods on Hand
As a parent or caretaker it is your responsibility to provide your child with healthy food. Since a child cannot drive and does not have the education to understand what is best for him or herself, adults must supply children with the tools they need to be successful. By keeping a fridge and pantry full of healthy items, this will encourage the child to eat healthy foods. A well-stocked fruit bowl, low-sugar yogurts, whole grain cereals, chopped veggies, etc. all make good snacks for when your child comes running through the door “starvingggggg.”
6. Remove Temptations
Along with keeping healthy foods on hand, it is equally important to keep temptations out of the house. If there are things like sodas, candies, chips, doughnuts, etc. in the house, this will make it even harder to sell your healthy eating ideas. By keeping unhealthy tempting foods out of the house, you are helping your child enjoy healthy foods instead!
7. Be a Role Model
Last but certainly not least, when it comes to promoting healthy eating for your children, it is crucial that you act as a positive role model in regards to living a healthy lifestyle. If you want to encourage them to eat healthy, it is important that you not only talk the talk, but walk the walk too. As you know, children are like sponges – they soak up everything that you say and do. Show them how to eat healthy by doing it yourself each and every day!
Childhood obesity is nothing to take lightly, and as adults, it is up to us to help these children live long, healthy lives! By instilling healthy eating behaviors at a young age, parents can help their children maintain a healthy weight lifelong. How do you help your child stay healthy?