Healthy Habit 2: Don't let your child set the menu. continued...
When you're making a healthy entrée that your child might not like, experts recommend that you include a healthy food that she does like -- fruit, for instance -- as a side dish. That way, there's something familiar for her.
If she protests, experts suggest that you be firm: Make it clear that her choices are limited to what you've served. Resist the temptation to cave in and make her a separate meal. In time, she'll come to accept the limits that you're setting -- and will start trying some healthier foods.
Allow your child to help prepare the meal, which may encourage her to try the new fruits or veggies being introduced.
Healthy Habit 3: Choose to reduce TV time.
Because many studies have found a clear association between television-watching and obesity, experts say that reducing your kids' TV time makes sense. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of TV-watching a day for kids aged 2 and older. It's best if children younger than 2 not watch TV at all.
Of course, the most effective way to curb a child's TV watching is for you to also limit your time in front of the box. The easiest way to successfully have a healthy family is for you to lead by example.
Afraid such healthy goals will challenge your poise and patience? If you're swooping in every 15 minutes, scowling, and clicking off the TV, yes -- you might face a revolt. Or your kids will just scurry off to a different screen -- a computer, a video game, or a TV in another room.
To keep your cool (and achieve your goal of having a healthy family), don't focus on what your kids can't do but rather on what they can do. For instance, don't even mention after-school TV. Instead, create a list of activities -- rain or shine -- that they can do after school, like dancing to favorite songs, playing on the backyard playset, biking in the neighborhood, or helping to prepare dinner. Then, let your child pick something from that list.