You want to talk about weight loss with your child, but what should you say?
Make this conversation as comfortable as possible by making this a family affair. Instead of being about your child, talk about how you want to set up the entire family to be happier and healthier. And while you may think you’re broaching a new topic, don’t be surpised if your child has already spent a lot of time thinking about his or her weight.
It’s all about empowering your child to succeed — not penalizing them for struggling.
Here are five ways to talk to your child about weight loss.
First, be positive and upbeat. Even when the scale is moving in the wrong direction, you want to be your son’s or daughter’s cheerleader. Encourage progress.
Second, speak their language. Children need to understand why they’re eating carrots and spinach instead of cheese pizza. For example, explain that “carrots help you see better” and “spinach makes you stronger.”
Third, focus on health. Equate food with energy, not with how your child looks or with moving numbers on a scale.
Fourth, keep it in-house. Your child’s weight loss journey may be a family affair but it’s not fodder for discussion. Don’t share at a dinner party; keep the conversation (and the small and large successes) to family and close friends who need to know.
Finally, provide healthy, positive, non-food rewards for weight loss. Maybe you offer to go shopping with your child for a new shirt or pants, or you agree to purchase a hula hoop, a basketball hoop, or a new fitness app once your child loses that first five or ten pounds.
To see success, don’t do these things.
As much as you should be a cheerleader for your child, you need to be careful never to nag or punish your child for struggling or slipping up. As your family starts on this journey, here are a few more things to keep in mind.
First, don’t focus on appearance. Focus instead on health. Focusing on health also makes it easier to put the emphasis on the entire family.
Second, don’t focus solely on numbers on a scale. Your BOUNCE weight loss journey is about whether your child is moving more, fitting into smaller-sized clothes, and eating more fruits and vegetables.
Have you had that first conversation with your child about weight loss? What advice would you add?