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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

  This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.

Tips to Know While You’re Working to Get Back on Track continued...

How to deal with resistance.

  • Set ground rules. To get kids to cooperate, many parents offer unhealthy prizes to get their kids into a family routine. Screen time in front of video games or TV is an unhealthy choice because it keeps kids from getting up and being physically active. Using sweets and treats as a reward places an unhealthy value on food. Kids can learn to associate food with feeling good and may begin to use it as a way to try and fix feelings. Food can’t fix feelings. So avoid the unhealthy rewards approach. Not only is it a less-than-healthy tactic -- it can backfire.

"If you start rewarding your kids for fulfilling basic household obligations, all they'll think about is the reward," says Anderman. He recommends that you make a child's allowance or privileges depend on whether or not they do a few tasks. If they don't do them, they don't get paid their allowance or don’t get their privileges. That way it's not about instant gratification but about building a sense of responsibility and natural family obligation.

  • Keep calm. "If you're screaming and harassing your kids all the time to do things, your approach isn't working," Anderman says. "You need to break the pattern." Stay calm.

Screaming and harassing them is stressful to them and you. Show them how to communicate, even when they are upset. Knowing how to communicate and handle stress are skills that can help them for life. Stress has been linked to unhealthy weight gain and other major health problems.

  • Teach by example. They say actions speak louder than words. Instead of yelling, if you want your kids to get back into healthy habits, show them how.

For example, worried your family has stopped exercising and being physically active?

Choose one thing to work on yourself. If you’ve stopped taking your Saturday morning walks, be the ringleader. Once everyone clears the breakfast table, start lacing up your shoes.

Need motivation? Exercise is a great stress reliever. Helping kids to handle their own stress will help their overall happiness. Walking together is also great family quality time. Plus, by taking the initiative to start walking again, it shows them that being active is something that you like to do and that it is important to you. Parenting experts say that once you resume your normal routine, the kids will follow naturally.


For Kids and Parents. Kid Tested. Expert Approved.

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