Having over weight kids is a constant concern. You are stuck between discussing the issue and giving your child a complex, or pretending there is no problem and letting her/his weight get out of control. Either way doesn’t seem right.
I am talking about slightly overweight kids not obese kids, obviously if a child is obese other actions would be requires.
Â I’ve never liked the idea of putting a child on a diet; making an issue of it adds to the stresses of growing up and hurts a kid’s self esteem. During childhood the attention should be on much more important life issues like education, manners and being a good person. They can always loose weight but regaining self respect, learning about morals and common decency and working on their inner value is where the emphasis should lie.
Â You may say that being over weight damages their self esteem, but you need to decide which will harm them most, constantly pointing out their “problem”, and what is “different” about them, or letting them be slightly over weight but confident in their own self worth. You know your own child, so take note: Is their weight bothering them? Or you? If they haven’t given any sign of concern about it than maybe you should let it be and use some of these ideas to slowly influence your child’s habits without making an issue of it.
Â I prefer to make light of the subject and hopefully solve the problem “without them noticing” in an effort to preserve self esteem, not give a child adult issues and instill healthy eating habits.
Â There are several ways to help keep kids’ weight down and still not put them “on a diet”.
- Set an example: Difficult I know, but even if you have to sneak that candy bar, eating it in front of them will not send the right message. This goes for most things in life, unfortunately when you become a parent you have to become a “role model” â€“ darn!
- Increase physical activity surreptitiously: Don’t say “you have to exercise” but ask them to walk the dog, even pay them, or encourage them to join sports clubs. If possible let them walk or cycle to school.
- Get the junk out of the house: Again, I know this is difficult, so I just buy a treat for the weekend but I don’t keep a stock or biscuits, and definitely no chips, chocolate or other foods that are obviously junk. If it’s not in the house they can’t eat it. Start with the obvious things and slowly make other changes.
- Fill kids up on low fat/sugar foods: Amazingly if you put cut fruit or veg. on the table in front of the T.V. they eventually eat it! And cutting it makes a difference. Change all the products that have low fat options to the lesser fat content, not 0 fat but less than you had before. There are low fat dairy products etc.
- Emphasis health and not weight: Talk of health, not weight. For example when they ask why you don’t buy their favorite sugar covered cereal, say it is full of food coloring, or chemicals, and that you don’t buy cola/fizzy drinks any more because “who knows what they put in them”, and “when you can tell me what E216 is and what tree it grows on, then I’ll buy it”! Snack bars and chips are “loaded with sodium” not “fattening”. You see? It’s all a matter of how you present it.
- Serve smaller quantities: Self explanatory. If they have to ask for seconds, they will also feel like they are having “more”.
- Reaffirm their good qualities constantly: Internal beauty should be praised, but don’t go over the top, or they will figure out that you are up to something.
I hope this helps some other mother. Instill good habits and you may be able to solve the problem before it gets out of hand and before others start to point it out.