Keep them happy and healthy
Overweight and under-exercised is an increasing problem in young kids. Is your child’s relationship with food healthy, mama? Or do you find that he or she is gaining weight too quickly and constantly craving or snacking on everything unhealthy? Here are my top ten tips to ensure that children develop a healthy relationship with food:
1. Remember children learn best by example! So be a good role model, mama, and adopt healthy eating and exercise behaviours yourself.
2. Ask friends and family to support your child’s efforts to have a healthy lifestyle. Everyone should be consistent in their approach to your child’s eating plan.
3. Encourage your child to be active and limit their time watching TV, playing on the computer or playing video games.
4. Avoid calling foods good or bad; offer healthy options. Don’t buy the foods you know your child should be avoiding. These foods are for special occasions.
5. Instead of rewarding your child with food, try one of the following:
- – A new book, a new toy or even a magazine
- – Spend some quality time with him or her reading or playing
- – Allow a friend to stay overnight, everyone loves a sleepover
- – Going to the beach, park or cinema
6. Praise efforts made by your child to be healthy instead of dwelling on bad habits.
7. Encourage your child to decide whether they really are hungry when they ask for food
8. Separate eating from other activities such as watching TV (a person tends to eat more when they are distracted by the TV)
9. Provide meals and healthy snacks at regular times instead of allowing your child to nibble all day long.
10. Comfort your child with attention, listening and hugs instead of food.
It is important to note that our goal with children is never to get them on a “diet” – our aim is for them to grow into their current weight.