To a parent, heartbreak can mean many things. Often times, it begins upon seeing the distress on your child’s face when he/she comes home from school, sighing that they were picked last for dodge ball again. Or that some older kids were yelling “Hey, fatty!” He/she has steadily gained weight, and is now at a point where ignorance is no longer an option. The pediatrician has informed you that it is a serious health issue. Your child is unable to keep up with his peers in gym class.
Here are the effective tips by Helene Goldnadel to help you in this regard:
- First, and foremost, you and your child must work as a team in meeting his weight loss objective. If he does not “buy into” the idea of changing his eating habits, weight loss will be difficult. Communication is key. Talk to your child; you may gently remind him of past insults or favorite clothes that no longer fit. Most likely, your child will come to you. He will be eager to improve his physical skills in school as well as his self-image.
- Introduce your child to the concepts of food groups and portion size. Appropriate amounts of food groups are dependent on your child’s age, height, weight and body frame. Good reference can be found online to websites devoted to weight loss for children.
- Exercise. Experts recommend at least thirty minutes of continuous activity each day. Motivating your child to participate will be easier if the whole family enjoys this time together. Good family activities include cycling, rollerblading, and hiking, swimming and kayaking. This cardio activity increases your child’s metabolism, helping them to burn more calories, even at rest. This ensures a consistent and steady weight loss.
- Constant monitoring is essential. Even though your child may be eager to participate and is well motivated, he is, after all, a child. Education can help reduce slip-ups, setbacks, and “closet eating”. Continue to reinforce the importance of your program. Mini-goals are a great way to maintain compliance and motivation. A small reward for every five pounds lost is one idea. However, rewarding with food is not behavior you wish to reinforce. Instead, choose the art supplies, a movie ticket or some other small but special item that will show how much you value his efforts.
- Lastly, a weekly weigh-in and progress chart are essentials in monitoring and tracking progress. The weigh-in provides a reality check on a regular basis and is a strong motivational tool. The progress chart records your child’s efforts and is an opportunity for praise, encouragement and assistance. This visual allows you to “tweak” your program as needed to meet his ultimate weight-loss objective.