How to Help Overweight Children

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Start by teaching children to get in touch with their own hunger cues and cravings just like adults do. They can be taught that all food is okay to eat, but they need to learn to eat according to what their bodies are calling for. By saying that, you can let go of the man-made rules and trying to control your children’s eating at the dinner table. Your job should be to serve a variety of foods so that they will not overeat—whatever they choose to eat on their plate is okay. Therefore, they can choose what they are hungry for within the context of you being the parent who is still in control of what is for dinner. As children adjust to the lack of power struggle over food, they will start allowing their bodies to guide what they eat. It is best to limit their sweetened drinks to small quantities at meal or snack times so they do not get the bulk of their calories from drinks rather than the food, and provide water or unsweetened drinks in between meals. Also, it is best if dessert is not set up as a reward for eating dinner. I have heard from parents who include dessert as part of the meal and had very positive results from this as the power struggle subsided. I personally did not associate dessert with mealtime, but offered it as an option if they were hungry later in the evening.

 

Learn more about helping your children in The Tablet