It can be a sensitive topic, but parents need to know how to discuss health and fitness with their children. If your child is overweight, you may be at a loss for how to help. No matter the age, talking to kids about health and fitness can be a difficult topic. Keeping the conversation on healthy habits and lifestyles and involving your child in the conversation is the best way to approach the subject.
What new fruit would you like to try?
Start the nutrition topic by taking your child grocery shopping with you. Have your child choose a new fruit or vegetable to try every week. Make a point to learn the fun facts about those fruits and vegetables, and how they are good for your body, together. When you involve your child in decision-making processes, you help them build self-confidence.
Do as you say.
Being a good role model is a great way to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle without even talking to your child. In this instance, what you do is more important that what you say. If it isn’t a healthy choice for you, it won’t be a healthy choice for them. If your child sees you frequently choosing fruits and vegetables over french fries, they will want to do the same. If you do stop at a fast-food restaurant explain the healthier choices that can be made to your child, such as a grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad rather than the burger and fries.
What physical activity would you like to do after dinner?
Making mealtime family time is another great way to encourage healthy eating choices. When eating as a family, children tend to eat more slowly and make healthier choices. Having family mealtime also provides an opportunity to talk with your child and to make plans for family fitness activities.
How many steps should we take each day this week?
If you want to encourage your child to unplug and get more active, make getting healthy a project that you work on together. Suggest getting matching pedometers and challenge each other to reach a goal each day. Let your child set goals for both you and themselves to encourage participation and help his or her confidence. Another idea is to talk with your child about what his or her favorite activities are. Then find a way, together, to work those activities into a regular routine.
Make it fun.
Encouraging health and fitness with children can be tricky, and you have to be careful not to cross the line of being pushy or too strict. If you want your child to stick with routines and get in the habit of making healthy choices it needs to be fun and your child needs to feel involved in the planning and learning process. Make it a joint effort and you will both reap the benefits.
Still need some help? Consider setting up a meeting with our Registered Dietitian for the WHOLE family to get started. Then get a fitness program for each family member from one of our college educated, nationally certified Personal Trainers. You may even want to sign the kids up for our “Teen Nutrition and Training” program where they will learn about all aspects of healthy living, directly from a trainer.Schedule a Tour