Kids are kids. Persuading them to make the necessary changes to become more fit and healthier won’t always be easy. You will face resistance, and it will be frustrating at times.
But as a parent, it’s important to stay positive and focused on the task at hand — helping your kid avoid the health risks associated with obesity.
The best way to approach it depends on a variety of factors: your child’s age, your relationship with him or her, your behaviors, and peer influences in your kid’s life.
Here are some suggestions that will help you as you work to become your kid’s most valuable player in his/her journey toward healthy living.
Set them up for success. Create an environment that increases the likelihood your child will succeed. If he or she is having trouble meeting new dietary or behavior benchmarks, adjust your expectations, so your son or daughter doesn’t become too discouraged.
Balance empathy with persistence. Realize that making these changes is tough for your child. Don’t be too critical when they hit stumbling blocks. But at the same time, do not lose sight of the goal. Be sure that you stay on track for success.
Be a good role model. Your efforts will be unsuccessful if you don’t exhibit the very same kind of behavior you’re asking of your child. Whether you are overweight or not, it’s important that you eat right and stay active, right there with your child. Lead by example and your child will follow.
Talk, talk, talk. Keep the lines of communication between you and your child open. Make sure you know how they’re feeling. If they’re having trouble meeting certain goals, get to the bottom of the problem with sensitive, sincere questions.
Have a healthy home environment. Make meal and snack times as consistent as possible. Restrict eating to those times only. Replace sugary snacks with healthy foods like fruit and veggie snacks. Instead of relying on TV for entertainment, take family walks, ride bikes, or play catch.
Most importantly, praise your child. Let them know you love them, no matter what. Remind them every day that you aren’t only their most valuable player, but also their biggest fan.