As parents, we want to help our children in every way possible, including on their journey to get to a healthier place. Although we always mean well, our actions or words can negatively affect our child’s ability to reach their goals. Let’s discuss some potential mistakes to avoid when helping our children get healthy, whether their goal is weight loss or just feeling better.
Mistake #1: Telling Your Child to Finish Everything on Their Plate
Although it may seem like it’s helpful to make your child eat enough, the mistake you may be making is teaching them to ignore their hunger & fullness cues. If you teach them to listen to their bodies, they will be less likely to develop a habit of overeating in the future.
Mistake #2: Using Fear or Negative Messaging
Trying to scare your child into eating healthy by telling them that they will “get fat” or “develop diabetes” or “lose friends” is not a helpful or positive tactic. In fact, these kinds of words make children develop anxiety or shame around their health.
Instead, let’s help reinforce our child’s decision-making. For example, if they are eating cake, you could say, “That looks so yummy! Would you like to eat all of it or half of it?” If they say “all of it,” then let them. Then encourage them to note how they feel. If they eventually relate overeating cake to having a sick tummy, then in the future, they will realize that they don’t want to eat a lot of cake, no matter how good it tastes. By taking this approach, you show them that you trust their judgment and empower them to make positive choices about their health.
Mistake #3: Giving your Child Dessert for Breakfast
Sugary cereals, pastries, and muffins are not a healthy breakfast. Children are supposed to consume no more than 25 grams of sugar PER DAY, and yet some common breakfast cereals have over 40 grams per serving. It is crucial for our children to eat a healthy breakfast featuring a protein to keep them full throughout the day. If you want more information about healthy breakfasts, check out this blog post.
In conclusion, we are our child’s best advocates in their wellness and health journey. Let’s avoid these mistakes and support them by encouraging them to eat nutrient-dense food, teaching them to trust their bodies and hunger/full cues, and using positive messages to help them make good decisions about their health.
At The Wellness Center at Progressive Pediatrics, we are dedicated to your child’s health! We want to help teens and pre-teens reach their weight loss or wellness goals in a healthy way so they develop good self-esteem and avoid long-term health problems. Make an appointment today!
Please visit: https://progressivepediatrics.com/wellness/
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