Raising Children

Weight Control

Controlling your child's diet and weight is largely in your hands as a parent. Here's what you can do if your child is overweight.

Parents often believe that forcing their child to eat more and more is a sign of their love. Not many parents are unduly worried when they find out that their child is fat. They think of it as baby fat, which the child will soon lose as he grows into an adult.

Some children do indeed grow out of their baby fat as they grow older, but many do not. So don't keep pushing food down her throat, especially food that is fattening. It never ceases to amaze me when I see people forcing others to eat fattening sweets, when they are trying to stick to eating healthy. Don't do this to your children.

Serving rich food is not a sign of love

Some parents mistakenly believe that by cooking ghee, oil-rich and sugar-laden food for their families, they are somehow proving their love to them. Try and disassociate serving food with proof of love or proof of your household skills. If your child doesn't want to have another fried pakora, let her be. It is better you waste it than it lands up in your child's stomach.

Don't criticize your child for being fat

There are other parents that go overboard, and keep giving their children what they think are encouraging words of advice, by telling them that they should watch what they eat, control their diet, exercise more and so on, over and over and over. Pretty soon not only is your child going to turn a deaf ear to your pleas, but she will also develop a strong sense of insecurity. You are causing more damage to her self-esteem than you realize. No matter how much you long for your child to be slimmer, don't keep telling her to lose weight. Instead, see what you can do to help her without being obvious.

Without being vocal about your intentions, start stocking up on healthy snacks. Substitute sodas with juice. Avoid bringing home ice-cream, cakes, and readymade baked goodies. The less you stock at home, the less your child will have.

Encourage a healthy lifestyle

Encourage your child to take up a sport. If no one in your family is physically active it may not be easy to push her in that direction, but do try and get her interested. Children often like to take up new activities, and it shouldn't be too much of a challenge. Perhaps you can meet up with friends who are very physically active or whose children play a particular sport. This should increase your child's willingness to try her hand at something.

Discuss various sporting options with your child beforehand, so she has a choice in the sport she takes up. Also, make the effort to see how she is progressing. If she shows no talent for a particular sport, remember that she may soon tire of it and give it up. If you let her try her hand at more than one sport at a time, something like tennis and swimming, your child may show an obvious aptitude and liking towards one sport, which you can then help her focus on.

Try and get her involved in a sport when she is still very young. Doing so is one way to ensure your child ensures that she makes staying fit and exercising regularly a priority in her life. She will then automatically be more particular about the food she eats - it all goes with the lifestyle.

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