- Be your child’s role model – A child’s habit is very malleable, like clay, they get moulded by the parents. Having positive food habits will nurture your child into having positive food habits. Be the role model that shares healthy eating habits with your child.
- Snack right – Switch to low calories healthy snacks like fruits, dry fruits, roasted grains and pulses and salad instead of high fat stuff like fries, ice creams, chocolates etc. Alternatively, drastically reduce the quantity of high fat snacks that you give to your child.
- Don’t let media affect your child’s food habits- Kids often get attracted to fancy ads shown about processed junk available in the market. Educate them about healthy and unhealthy foods, and help them make wise decisions about food.
- Involve them in physical activity – Unlike the diet of obese adults, we may not be able to cut down drastically on calories for obese kids as childhood is a growing phase and cutting on calories can impair growth. Hence involve your child in more sporting activities of their choice so that they burn the excess fats. Take hiking and camping trips, encourage them to play outside (running around with friends), get them interested in a sport that you can play together.
- Soft drinks – Soft drinks are loaded with sugar and hence kids love them. However, they have a very negative effect on your child’s health. The best way to keep them away from such drinks is by avoiding them yourself.
- Breakfast – Kids who do not eat a good breakfast are more likely to snack on unhealthy foods high in fats and sugars. They are also less productive and may have poorer learning outcomes in school compared to their peers.
- Motivation –Kids who are overweight are often bullied by their peer which lowers their self-esteem. This may lead to depression and binge-eating. Hence, boost your child’s self-confidence by participating in his weight loss journey. Eat right and stay active with them so that they find “being healthy” as a part of lifestyle rather than a punishment.
- Limit screen time – Todays generation is spending too much time on television, computers, tabs and phones. This is making them even more inactive and lowers their metabolism. Limit their screen time to not more than 30 minutes daily.
I would sum-up by asking you to stop nagging about your child’s weight and rather create a healthy environment for your child to practise healthy eating habits and good physical activity. Start with baby-step like including fruits into snack time, reducing their fast food and sugar intake, walking small distances and keeping away from junk food. You can also involve them in the house chores they enjoy; however, this process should not feel like a punishment.
Once your child starts enjoying, then set bigger goals. Note – Do not concentrate much on losing weight but make sure your child isn’t gaining more weight. In a couple of years, he/she will be in the normal weight category.