It’s extremely important that we deal with an overweight child’s weight while they’re still young. It’s our responsibility to give our children the best possible life they can have, and weight issues can interfere with that from happening. Here are some of the ways, we can help them lose weight, and focus on having a healthy life.
– Learn what it takes.
If you’re going to help your child, you’ll need an understanding of what losing weight is all about yourself. Are you battling your own weight issues? Have you been struggling to no avail, and now worry your child is headed towards the same battles? This is very common, as I had an overweight parent, and I know how hard it was for them to see me go through it. We need to start somewhere for them, and for ourselves. If you’ve battled weight for a longtime, you know how difficult it can be, and all of the feelings that go along with it. Remember that you can’t use your struggles to scare your kid, or use fear to get them to lose weight. You can use yourself as an example though and lead by example, and make a commitment to change. You’ll need to do the leg work to find many resources, tips, help, and anything you can think of you can try. Put a list together and see what’ll work and what won’t. This is something the two of you can work on together, so you’ll be able to form a doable weight loss plan.
– Talk about it.
We should never fear having a weight discussion with our child. Make sure to bring the subject up as gently as possible. We must do it, because if we don’t, it’ll only get worse in the long run. We can’t wish something away, and the weight is not going to magically disappear. You’ll end up seeing they agree that it’s a problem and they want to be a part of changing it. Most parents fear that their child is going to be whining about exercise and eating carrots, but it doesn’t always go that way. Our children are smart, and if we keep things open and make them feel they have choices and are able to make decisions, big changes will happen.
– Don’t force them.
We want to give our children lots of ideas as to what they can try, to help them lose weight. When we come up with ideas, and get them coming up with their own, they can make the changes they can accept. We never want to force a child to make the changes we see fit, because they will end up resenting us for it. It’s a better idea for us to get them to see why they should make a change, rather than forcing something on them. Most of the times, when we’re being told and pressured to do something, we end up hating it, and we’re ready to give up. We don’t want our child to have early negative experiences with weight loss, because than we’ll be setting them up for a lifetime of struggles. Make collective choices that they’ll have a hand in planning, and their weight loss will go smother, and have a better chance of getting under control for good.
– Adopt a healthy lifestyle for the whole family.
A great place to start, is by the whole family adopting a healthier way of life. This essentially, is a way of getting the whole family to commit, so it’s much easier for your overweight child, and you’ll be setting everyone up for a healthier life through prevention. Your whole family should put thought into meals and it’s preparation. By doing this, they’re gaining the knowledge of what it takes to prepare healthy meals and snacks. Part of a healthy lifestyle, is also an active lifestyle. This is the easiest way to get your child active, happy, and confident. This is not so much making it “exercise,” and having it feel overbearing to your child. When we adopt an active lifestyle, we’re continuously burning calories, having a better drive and focus, and all of our choices seem to be better. Building your family around a healthier lifestyle, will assure your child has a better life.
– Support what they like.
It’s important that we support the activities that our children enjoy. Their activities allow them to excel at something that builds “who they are,” as they’re growing. They build confidence from the things they do, a skill, motivation, they make friends, and they have a general good feeling about themselves. If they have a talent, make sure they explore it, as long as they want to pursue it. We should also challenge them to try new things, so they can broaden their horizons. We should always be there to support them, guide them, and have them know that we’ll be there to root for them no matter what challenges they take on.
– Teach them responsibility.
I’m a big proponent of teaching our children early on about responsibility and consequences of their actions(or, lack of). I feel they should have responsibilities, and I know this is hard, because we want to baby them forever. It’s only natural that we want to take care of them for as long as we can, because the years fly by and before we know it, they’re off to college and/or getting married. If they have a weight problem, you need to put more of your attention into how you’re going to help them do something about it. The way to do this, is by having them take an active role in it, and this begins with teaching responsibility. We can’t do it for them, we can only help, but ultimately, it’s up to them. We have to hope that they’ll want to take action, and they’ll be perceptive to the changes we suggest. No matter what, we should never give up on them , or with finding new and creative ways to help. We each have a responsibility in this too, and it’s that we take action in making sure we provide them with the tools necessary for having a healthy future.