Often when children can’t have a food item they want but do not need, like a packet of chips while watching TV or a bar of chocolate when you walk into a store, they resort to throwing tantrums or sulking and are later seen to be irritable and sad arounds us. Having to encounter such circumstances as a parents is quite challenging, and for the child to experience them is distressing.
What then can we do in situations as these:
Bottled up feelings are the root cause of many lesser known external behaviors. Having an open communication channel helps you to know how your child feels and why they want one particular item and will also help your child understand why you are not in favor of them eating it. A deeper conversation will help both of you understand more about how they feel about his/her body, eating habits and patterns, weight issues, consequences of being thin/normal/fat in the outside world, a healthy milestone in parenting. Being able to communicate with your child is like opening window to let the wind in and breathe or like letting steam out of a hot pressure cooker. It’s freeing and vital!!
What can you do: Set aside time periods to spend with your child during the day. Especially when they will be most prone to talking like when they have just returned from school or just before bed. (No cell phones, no cooking or any other distractions. Just you and your child.)
The monotonous day to day routine of our lives easily gets us accustomed to a schedule and we could take our focus off our priorities. An important one being: Health. In the rush of the day, we don’t think of the bar of chocolate or a bag of chips we give our child for a snack and end up with our child facing the brunt of an overweight or obese body/type II diabetes/Hypertension etc. Just wanting for your child to lose weight does not help to reduce the excess weight to improve their health condition. As a parent staying focused on the goal of weight loss as well as consistently following the food and exercise protocol is essential in helping your child stay focused on their health.
What can you do: Note it down and remind yourself to focus, move forward and walk with your child beside you. In the process, make a conscious effort to encourage and remind yourself the reasons why you started and where you can be.
Disappointments with regard to weight loss are common. We expect to see the scales show something and it ends up showing us something else. Belittling, demotivating and underestimating ourselves in the very own chambers of our homes and bodies, is a statement many relate to but do not acknowledge. When you and your child achieve weight goals, you and your child need to be celebrated. Ever small win is a victory. Rewards, don’t t have to always be food but can be replaced with a healthier versions such as words of praise, a hug , a board game. But when the goals are not met, it is equally important to realize that the path to health is not always smooth. There are some bumps along the way and it is a great opportunity to re-look at what is going wrong or, what needs to be tweaked to keep the journey going. As a parent, your happiness is reflected in your child, as is your disappointment. While you celebrate a win, it is important to reinforce faith and belief in your efforts during a bump in the way.
What can you do: Make or get a card for your child that conveys the message: “Well done”, “Proud of you”, “You did it!” during the good times and words of encouragement like “I know you can do it”, “Keep giving it your best” during a plateau in weight loss.
4. Not just say, but Do
As a parent, showing love and commitment comes not just in the form of providing for your child, imparting knowledgeable, encouraging and criticism/correction, but also in participating. Your child’s commitment to lose weight has to be your commitment too since you are the primary caregiver and make all decisions regarding your child’s health. Telling them what needs to be done is only one part of the equation. Doing the actions with them is what makes it a successful habit. The question to reflect on as a parent is: Am I just a preacher of words or am I a do-er of the same?
‘Being there’ with your child in their weight loss journey is a crucial aspect for them while losing weight. ‘Being there’ means participating in eating what they eat, exercising with them and encouraging them when they have ‘not so good days’. To know that you stand by them not only keeps them going but also boosts their confidence levels and shapes their personality.
We at Skooc, focus on these keys aspects among the parents while helping the child to lose weight. In this way, both you and your child take a better road towards healthy living.