When Parents Help Overweight Kids Make A Plan
The American Heart Association has an interesting way of looking at the problem of obesity in children. They believe apparently, that if only every child who had a weight problem would have all the older people in the family – parents, uncles and aunts and so on – take an interest in their problem, they could be persuaded to change their ways. Could this really be true? Could a little family concern be all that overweight kids need to get up and do a bit of exercise or control how much they eat?
This piece of advice from the American Heart Association does seem unconventional, to say the least. Especially when you read the entire report to come to the part where they talk of the recommendations they have for families with overweight kids.
They don’t just tell you that the family needs to take an interest and leave it at that. They give you specific ideas for how this might happen.
For instance, take how in any family with overweight kids, there is a constant battle on about how many sodas the child gets to drink everyday. They recommend that parents should sit down with the child and have a conversation about how it might help the child have an easier time of resisting temptation, if no one bought as many sugary sodas to stock the fridge up in as the kid wanted.
They could talk about the kind of alternatives they could buy – like seltzer with flavor. When the child sees that he is a part of the decision-making process, he will right away be a lot more willing to take an interest in seeing the plan succeed.
To make sure that the child can actually keep count of how he isn’t drinking more soda than he should, the family could decide to put a chart where the child could mark the number of sodas he takes out of the fridge. When the child has trouble keeping his word, the parents can try to talk to him about how they might be of help.
It’s important to show the child that when he misses his goal, his failures are only part of the learning process. There are a lot of activities and behaviors that overweight kids can learn this way – through trial and error. You could talk about how much TV time the child gets to have, how much physical activity he should put in and so on. How involved the family is makes all the difference to.