Are you concerned about your kids being underweight or overweight and how it can affect their health? You can work with your children on developing healthy eating and activity habits so that they maintain a good weight for their size and age.
Here are some suggestions to help you keep your kids healthy when it comes to their weight.
Be Careful How You Address Their Weight
What happens with a lot of kids we have weight issues is that well-meaning parents make negative comments about their kids’ weight and push the kids into an eating disorder. They might not mean for it to hurt them, but parents may criticize their children’s weight, and the child may take that very hard. They might start to drastically change their eating habits to where their unhealthy weight moves from one end of the spectrum to another. These kinds of unhealthy habits and self-criticism they develop may stick with them for many years and be very difficult to break.
It’s important that parents address their children’s weight problems in a gentle, kind, and understanding manner. Yes, you should be realistic with your kids about their weight, but you should also not be overly critical or harsh. Talk to them about what they can do to improve their weight and the kinds of negative effects that come with being underweight or overweight. Let them know that you’re their partner to help fix the problem and that you love them no matter what their weight is.
Buy Healthy Foods
A lot of the poor eating habits that children may have come from their parents. Either their parents buy them food that’s not healthy for them or allow them to have food they shouldn’t have so often. It’s okay for your kids to enjoy desserts, sodas, and snacks periodically, but to have those things every day or several times a week can be unhealthy. This can also create unhealthy eating habits, addictions, and cravings that are difficult to break away from.
If you make a conscious effort to purchase healthy food and keep that in the house, it makes it a lot easier to ensure that your kids are eating stuff is good for them. Your kids may find food to eat on their own in the house, so if there are primarily healthy choices, that’s what they’re going to end up eating. If your kids have a choice between unhealthy and healthy snacks, they’re very likely to pick the unhealthy ones.
Give Kids Food Choices
Kids love being able to have some measure of control over what they eat. They can get frustrated if they’re always eating what other people pick for them, and they may not enjoy their food very much. If they feel trapped by what they’re being forced to eat all the time, they may not get much enjoyment out of eating and they may eat very little, becoming undernourished and underweight. It can be helpful for your kids and maintain the healthy weight if you give them some choices when it comes to what they can eat. You may not let them have free reign over the foods that’s available, but you can limit their choices to a few and let them make the final decision. This way, they can choose from several things they may not absolutely love, but getting that degree of control will help them enjoy the food a bit more. This can help them feel like they have some say as to what they’re eating.
Keep Your Kids Active
Kids these days have a tendency to be very sedentary. Yes, you have kids who love to be outdoors all the time and active even when they’re indoors, but others will naturally want to sit quietly for long periods of time and have trouble getting enjoyment out of being outside or being active. It can be helpful for your kids if you encourage them to do some physical activity every day. That doesn’t have to mean that you’re sending your kids to the gym or making them do a workout, but if you can play sports with them for 30 minutes or so or get them to play outside on their own for a little while, that can drastically improve their health and their weight.
One way that you can stay active is to give them regular chores to do each day. You may want to have separate daily chores and weekly chores, and this can really help you keep the house clean and also benefit your children. As they get older, you can increase the number of chores you give them, and when they do a very good job with their chores, you can reward them. Keep in mind that they might not always be able to do the chores you want them too because of things they have going on in their life, and it may be helpful to hire a cleaning service to sweep the floors periodically or other housework. However, regular housework is really good for children for a number of reasons, not least of which is that it helps them maintain a healthy weight.
Talk to Their Doctor
If you are concerned about how underweight or overweight your child is, you may have valid concerns and want to talk to a health professional about the issue. Your child may struggle to maintain the healthy weight because of medical issues that they’re dealing with. Their doctor can help you determine if that is the case or if they need to make some lifestyle changes to help maintain a better weight.
Don’t Make Their Weight a Big Deal
The final tip we want to leave you with is to be careful about how much you talk about your child. Yes, you want to encourage them to have healthy weight and work on getting them to do the things they should do to get their weight to a healthy level. However, be careful about tying every activity to their weight, especially out loud. Let them enjoy their life, eat healthy, stay active, and maintain a healthy weight without you constantly bringing their weight into the conversation.