Addressing your kids’ weight can be a super sensitive topic, and if you’re not careful, you can do a lot more harm than good. Here’s how to walk the fine line between wanting your kids to be healthy and getting them to accept their bodies.
Tips for talking about your kid’s weight
Always stay focused on health, not weight
Yes, you want to ensure your kid’s weight is normal, but you also want to keep it within healthy limits. Over the last 40 years, childhood obesity has tripled around the world and now affects one in five school-aged kids. Kids that are overweight have an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. The first thing you need to focus on when addressing your kid’s weight has nothing to do with the scale, but instead, should be focused on health. Discuss some lifestyle changes, which will lead to the outcome of a healthier weight.
Ban the word “diet.”
When you’re healthy and follow a balanced diet, you’re never actually on a “diet” because you’re leading a healthy life in general. Diets are short term, fad solutions that don’t work in the long run. Making changes to your eating habits isn’t the same as going on a diet. Instead of talking about calories and numbers just focus on healthy snacks and meals.
Make healthy eating a family priority
If your kid has unhealthy eating habits, you’re the one in control of providing them with healthier choices. The best changes to make are the ones families are ready, willing, and able to work on. It’s also not just about what they eat, but how they eat too. Start by eating dinner together as a family, and enjoy meals that you’ve prepared as a family, at home.
Don’t banish all the “bad” foods
You don’t want to banish all of your kid’s favourite meals from his diet because this might set them up for an unhealthy relationship with food cravings. The change should be gradual. Instead of eliminating certain foods, allow your kids to have them on special occasions or once a week.
Never body shame
It’s super important to avoid shaming or criticising your child for their weight. Children that are body shames often have serious self-image issues when they grow up, even if they aren’t overweight.
Don’t stop at food when it comes to lifestyle changes
Of course, a healthy diet is crucial to your kid’s weight. But two things that are often overlooked when it comes to making lifestyle changes if physical inactivity and sleep, which are equally important here. Kids need to be limited on screen time and encouraged to get out and move around. There is also a definite association between sleep duration and obesity risk, according to research from the University of Michigan.