Look for fun ways to bring health home. For example, take your kids grocery shopping and cook healthy meals together. Play a game of tag or soccer as a family, and find ways to get everyone active every day.
It doesn’t matter if one of your children is overweight and another isn’t. “Slender children can still be at risk for pre-diabetes and other health problems if they eat poorly,” Cataldo says. “Your whole family should work toward a healthy lifestyle.”
As much as your child wants to be accepted by her friends, “She craves your attention and approval, too,” Hafeez says. Find ways to celebrate her everyday victories and healthy choices. Just make sure they aren’t tied to the numbers on the scale, clothing size, or other measures of how she looks. For example, you can say, “It’s great that you’re choosing an apple for a snack,” or “I really love it when we bike together.”
Just as you might respond better to a boss who praises you, “kids respond to a positive attitude,” Cataldo says. “Stick with it, and show her that you’re there for her no matter what.”
Go to the pros.
Not sure how to help your child? Talk to a professional about the right steps to take. For food and nutrition advice, find a pediatric dietitian through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You can also ask your child’s doctor or local children’s hospital to recommend counseling services and other resources that can help children live healthfully and feel good about themselves.