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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

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Anger. Find out why your child is mad and then ask what would make him feel better. If someone took his toy, for example, tell him it's not OK to snatch it back, but it is OK to ask for it to be returned.

Don't tell him he shouldn't be mad. It's not about suppressing anger, it's about managing it. "When we are allowed to feel our anger directly, we can let it go," Firestone says.

After you've talked, help your child calm down by taking a walk to get rid of angry feelings. Exercise triggers the "feel-good" hormones in the brain that should help him feel better. Let him know that. Or have him listen to some soothing music to help him chill. Teach him that these are healthy ways to relax.

Disappointment. There will be times when your child is upset with the way things work out. It helps if early on she learns how to take care of herself when she doesn't get what she wants.

"We can acknowledge their feelings and, at the same time, encourage them to keep on going for the things they want in life," Firestone says. "We want them to learn they can be disappointed and hurt, but that they don’t have to give up or protect themselves by acting like they don’t care." 

When your child is bummed, remind her that by moving her body she can feel better.

Boredom. Kids are often used to parents entertaining them. When they don't have something to do, they look for someone else to give them plans. It's better if you give your child the skills to amuse himself.

Ask him to come up with some ideas that sound fun, apart from TV and video games. Ask, "Can you think of ways you can move your body?" Exercise -- like riding bikes, shooting hoops, or exploring the yard or a nearby park -- burns energy and can be even more fun.

Hunger. First find out if your child really is hungry. Sometimes we want to eat when we're just bored. Explain this to her. If she’s not really hungry, suggest your child think of a fun activity -- and offer to do it with her.

If she's truly hungry, head to the kitchen. Make a tasty, healthy snack together, like a fruit smoothie or an apple with 2 tablespoons of almond butter.


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