Childhood obesity is on the rise. In fact, many experts consider it an epidemic. If your child has been diagnosed as obese, it’s not too late. There are a number of things you can do as a parent to help your child turn their life around. In fact, this may be the most powerful lesson you can give your child.
One of the most difficult aspects of obesity to manage is the fact that it feels like an overwhelming problem. Children have a lot on their minds. They have peer pressure and pressure to perform at school. They’re dealing with hormones, learning about themselves and the pressures of home. It’s a lot to handle. Top it off with a weight problem and it can be too much.
This is a great opportunity to teach your child that they’re in control and how to set goals. The key is to sit down together and create visionary goals supported by achievable goals. Visionary goals are goals that look to the future. They’re the “Where would you like to be in two years, five years, ten years from now” question.
However, visionary goals are just dreams if they don’t have supporting goals that are achievable. For many children, the supporting goals have to be small. They need to be goals like, “lose five pounds in thirty days.” These supporting goals are essential because they’ll teach your child that they can accomplish anything. They establish a pattern of success. As your child becomes confident in themselves and their ability to achieve success, they’ll set harder goals. It’s a great process to watch.
Once your child has created their goals, your job as a parent is to guide them to create processes to succeed. Ask them how they’re going to lose those five pounds in thirty days. Maybe you can work together to lose it. You can ride bikes together or cook healthy meals together. Children need to learn they can accomplish anything but they need their parents for guidance and support.
Positive Daily Habits
One of the best ways to support your child to turn their obesity around is to embrace positive daily habits. It’s difficult to eliminate a bad habit if you don’t have a positive one to replace it. Focus on one small habit at a time. For example, if your child always has a bowl of ice cream when they get home from school, replace that with a healthy snack and a good conversation.
It usually takes three to four weeks for a new habit to take hold. Be supportive and be present. Once your child has mastered one new positive habit, create another one together. Eventually, your child will be spending their days focused on good habits. All the unhealthy habits will have been replaced.
Find Time for Fun
It’s a sure bet that if overcoming childhood obesity is all work and no fun, your child is likely going to give up. We all need to have fun. That means playing, laughing, and having the occasional food treat. The ultimate goal is to teach healthy habits and moderation.
That doesn’t mean your child can never have a bowl of ice cream ever again. It may take a while to reverse childhood obesity, but the lessons your child learns along the way will be powerful life lessons they’ll have with them always.Help them learn how to have fun, how to make healthy decisions and how to gain control over their life.