Parents can help a child who is medically defined as overweight or obese
Parental action depends on whether only the child or the whole family has a weight problem. Also reassure the child of parental love regardless of the child’s weight. If the whole family needs to change some eating and exercising habits, then the parent and child should work together.
Food should never be given as a reward for completing a task, as a sympathetic gesture to ease hurt feelings, or as a cure for boredom. These habits may lead the child to eat food in these situations, regardless of any feelings of hunger. Here you can help the child learn that such behavior is occasionally–but not always–permissible, the child may avoid forming some of the dependent habits that can cause later weight problems. If the child is the only family member to have a weight problem, then other factors should be considered, like any medical problems or emotional stresses that might influence a child’s eating behavior.
How to help an underweight child
Consult a pediatrician and discuss the size of the other family members help put the child’s size into perspective. Also keep in mind growing slowly is not bad. However, when a child shows a sudden weight drop, other medical or emotional problems can be looked for. You can seek professional help from your pediatrician, dietitian, or child psychologist.
Three responsibilities in feeding children
Nutritious food should be given to children at regular intervals. A regular source of energy through meals and snack are to be given. Also a sensible eating pattern encourages the child to learn correct food behavior. Overweight children indicate that those children who eat regular meals control their weight more successfully. Parents can help the child learn to identify and pay attention to feelings of hunger and fullness. They should not force a toddler to eat one more bite. Parents can demonstrate a healthy lifestyle. Children like to imitate their parents so they are likely to want to do what parents do, whether that’s eating chips and watching television or eating while driving, etc.
Actions a parent should avoid
Parent’s primary role is to give support. For example, when playmates tease the physical appearance of the child, it is upseting when parents respond with, “When you get thinner they won’t tease you anymore” this only makes the child suspicious that there is indeed something wrong with him or her. A parent should listen to the child’s feelings about the teasing. And discuss the situation with the child like.
Parents should not treat the overweight child differently from the rest of the family, for instance forcing the child to eat meals, desserts or snacks that are different from what is served to the rest of the family. Likewise, children should not be put on a strict weight reduction diet which is a form of punishment. By doing this they might ignore feelings of hunger and may start believing that there is truly something wrong with themselves for wanting to eat more than their parents want to give them.
Specific actions parents need while helping their children learn good eating habits
- Encourage kids to eat a variety of foods.
- Gradually introduce new foods. Start with small portions but do not force the child to eat it.
- Parents set a good example by practicing healthy eating habits for themselves.
- Plan and provide regular meals and snacks for all the family.
- Have a pleasant conversation over meals and do not discuss problems.
- Serve food depending on the child’s size and age. Offer 1 tablespoon of meat, fruit, and vegetable per year of age up to age 5.
- Appetite also depends upon the child’s physical activity and growth spurts. There should be some lower calorie food items than can be offered for second helpings.
- Give high–calorie, low–nutrient foods only on occasional treats, not regularly.
- Involve children in planning, shopping, and label–reading.
- Never make nagging comments about a child’s weight. Children who are above or below their “Right“ weight need your support.
- Encourage regular physical activity. Set an example by walking or biking instead of driving, using stairs instead of the elevator, planning week–end hikes or swimming outings or simply walking around the block after dinner.