For parents of the 25 million overweight or obese kids in the United States, approaching the topic of healthy weight is a common challenge. Is there a right way? Here are a few pointers to consider:
- Express your concerns for their success and wellbeing
If your doctor has mentioned weight as a health factor or requested additional tests or bloodwork because of significant weight gain or body mass, approach the conversation as a follow up to the doctor's observations and in the interest of their health and wellbeing. What are the impacts of a child carrying extra weight, being unable to breathe, or feeling stress about body image, or simply not being fit enough to play the sports they love?
- Listen more than you talk
Once you have opened up the conversation, resist the urge to lecture. This is a time to ask questions, then, be quiet ... for as long as it takes ... wait. Then, listen to what they have to say. It might not be much, but allow them to be a big part of what gets said. To keep them talking, after they speak, repeat or rephrase what they said, then, allow them to say more about it. Take this opportunity to hear what they think about their weight and what they would like to address.
- Show Compassion
As a parent, this comes naturally. There is, however, a trap when we want to force a solution. Before 'laying down the law' with regard to eating or nutritional choices, take time to consider and hear the challenges your child faces in making these choices. What choices are there at school? How hard is it to make the right choice? Why?
- Create the solution together
Even if you've done all of the research and are clear about the best path for your child, involve them in the process of creating the solution. Once you agree there is an area they would like to work on, give them the information on options and why you believe in one or another. If you can gain your child's agreement to seeking help at the onset, your chances for success and impact are significantly higher.
Kids Nutrition Houston offers weight loss solutions specifically geared for kids, and customized to clients' individual, unique tastes, lifestyles, and preference. Megan Schwartz, RD has helped clients make small changes that have a big impact -- and not just on weight loss. Healthy Nutrition is about healthy habits that enhance overall quality of life for the entire family.