Jun 18, 2014

How to Talk to Your Child About Weight Issues If you're uncertain how to talk to your child about weight issues, experts from the COACH Program at Children's have some advice for parents.

You’ve read about the long-term health implications that childhood obesity can have in a young child’s life, and we’ve shared ways to prevent unhealthy habits, but how do you even begin that tricky conversation with your child if you think he may be overweight?

Well, contrary to the popular adage, what you say about weight issues matters just as much as how you say it.

Be Honest, Yet Compassionate

Experts in the Children’s Medical Center COACH (Center for Obesity and its Consequences in Health) Program recommend that parents be honest, yet compassionate, when addressing weight issues with their children, remembering that it’s important to protect their child’s self-esteem.

It’s tough enough being a kid these days, so instead of using negative terms like, “You’re fat,” or “Don’t be lazy,” instead use positive reinforcement like, “You can do it,” and “You are strong.” Here are some other helpful ways to motivate an overweight child.

When setting healthy goals, emphasize results of feeling stronger or healthier, rather than feeling prettier or looking better. Our experts say the key is to talk about it in terms of health instead of looks.

Healthy for the Whole Family

Family WalkingOnce the healthy goals are set, getting the whole family involved will help your child feel supported and can benefit other family members as well.

Cook a healthy meal, take an evening walk or make a pact to give up sugary drinks as a family. You’ll not only feel better, you may find that making it a family affair brings everyone closer as well – a win-win for all involved!  

Do you have any suggestions for our readers? Leave us a comment to share your healthy family tips with other parents.