Parents’ Potluck: Tips on Raising Healthy Kids
Top parenting tips from WebMD members.
Wondering how you can wean your kid off sugar? Or how to get through a
family trip without caving in to the shrill backseat demands for Happy Meals?
You’re not alone.
To get some answers to these and other questions, we turned to the real
experts: parents. We posted on WebMD’s parenting message boards and asked
our readers for some of their best parenting tips. Here are their top tips.
1. How can you prevent your child from becoming hooked on sugar?
We do not keep cookies or junk food in the house, so our daughter’s
sugar intake is limited to what is in breads and crackers and naturally in
fruit and 100% fruit juice.
- If I give my son anything sweet, it's usually sugar-free. They
make some really yummy candy, syrup and other things that are sugar-free and he
- I don't really think sugar is that big an issue, as long as its
natural sugar and in smaller doses. I don't want my daughter to have any
- We tell our son how sugars affect his body and don't give him the good
energy you get from healthy foods. He has also had a tummy ache after too
much cake. We took advantage [of that] and explained how too much sugar
makes you feel crummy.
I don't make a big deal out of NOT letting my daughter have
chocolate, so it's not some off-limits "forbidden fruit.”
- I am more inclined to make sure my kids are learning to make healthy
choices (i.e. grapes for a snack instead of chips) than [to worry about
their] sugar intake.
2. Without being too severe, how can you prevent your kids from getting spoiled?
We limit gift-giving and insist that our daughter is gentle with her
toys. We teach her that it's important to "do nice" with her books and
toys so that she values them and cares for them, as opposed to feeling like
they are disposable and replaceable.
- On the whole, I'm trying to teach my son to ask nicely, to say “please” and
“thank you.” But he also needs to understand and learn that [even if] he
says “please” and asks nicely, he can't always have what he asks for.
- I don't think [my kids are spoiled.] I'm not sure it's possible to
spoil twins -- you don't have the time.
I don't believe in withholding things or attention from children to try
to avoid "spoiling" them. In my experience, that practice can
lead to adults who place too much value on material things, because they felt
short-changed as children.
- Basically, to prevent spoiling, we set limitations and don't give
in. I will let my daughter throw a huge public tantrum before giving into
her demands for a toy, or candy, or whatever else it may be.
- In my book spoiling ... isn't loving. It is an easy answer, a palliative,
that avoids tougher issues and lessons. My son needs to know that in the
world, as an adult,he isn't going to get everything and anything he wants
just because. We are teaching him to be patient, giving, and loving. How
will it turn out? Ask me in about 40 years.