How to gently explain to a child that you need to lose weight

In the section «Ask an expert a question», our reader Alexandra asks:

«My son is 7 years old. The boy is quite well-fed from birth. I don’t limit him especially in food, but I try to feed him healthy food. Only here the child constantly asks for sweets. And our grandmothers are happy to try. Tell me how to gently, tactfully tell a child that he needs to lose weight and start eating right?»

— You are asking how best to behave to the parents of a child prone to obesity. Of course, you should not speak disparagingly about the appearance of the baby. But you should become an example of a healthy lifestyle. It is necessary to form the right habits in the child — this is both physical activity and a healthy diet.

Often, the problem of a child’s excess weight is a broken family relationship. It is no secret that the process of eating for a person is not only a purely physiological act. It also carries a psychological component. It can be a pleasure or, conversely, a «test» when forced to eat forcibly, offering food that causes disgust. Behind the act of feeding a child there is always a relationship that is formed between him and the adult caring for him.

Often, for mothers or grandmothers, the only way to express their love and tenderness for the baby is to feed him to the brim or stuff him with «useful» against his will, thereby weaning him from hearing the signals of his body. And a child in such situations may refuse to eat, thereby punishing the parent for the offense caused.

There are several common mistakes that form the wrong attitude to food in children and lead to excess weight in the future. This is consolation of a crying child with something delicious, reward with sweets, punishment with food, feeding the child through force or with songs and dances. Therefore, overweight children are a reason for parents to think not only about their lifestyle, but also about the relationships prevailing in the family.

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