Instead of focusing on a problem faced by a member of the family and especially your child, encourage the whole family to make a shift towards a healthier lifestyle. How?- Start with small, gradual changes that can be easily incorporated in the daily routine. Turn off the TV during meals, replace sweets with fruit or go for a walk with your children.- Set realistic, measurable goals, such as drinking one glass of milk in the morning and one in the evening for children or taking the stairs instead of using the lift. Also, cut down fast food to once a month.- Prepare for circumstances that may hinder your progress. For example, if you tend to eat crisps in front of the TV, make sure you don’t have any at home.- Celebrate your victories and reward yourself and your family. This will motivate you to carry on. When a child reaches their goal, pay attention and reward them verbally. When your family reaches a goal, come up with a healthy way to celebrate by organising an outing or an activity (e.g. picnic, mountain walk, etc.).- Be positive and focus on lifestyle changes and not on your child’s physical appearance or weight.Be flexible since changing habits takes time. Adjust your schedule and lifestyle and stick to it.
Creating an environment that encourages healthy weight:
- Always have healthy foods at home and do not buy sweets and beverages than contain sugar.
- Don’t make a habit of eating out, as meals at restaurants are high in calories; instead, opt for a family meal at home which is associated with health benefits.
- Introduce physical activity in your daily routine.
- Reduce time spent in front of the TV or on the computer. Always have in mind that it is your responsibility to be a good role model for your child. Lifestyle changes may be hard but if the whole family collaborates, the chances of success multiply.
Nowadays, children spend considerable time watching TV, using the computer or playing electronic games. These habits can change. Physical activity produces a feeling of physical well-being. Simple changes in a child’s routine that do not require money or a lot of time can easily take place. How? By introducing simple activities that are beneficial for the body, such as:
Walking to and from school or other educational institutes while also avoiding taking the lift;Encouraging your children to be involved in sport from a young age; we do not expect them to become champions from their first steps, but it is good to insist on a weekly schedule of sports so that they feel the benefits of exercise while they are still young;Remaining positive that if you exercise, your children will happily follow your lead;Seizing the opportunity to walk in the park, run, play football, basketball or even tag with your children, while enjoying every minute!