Telling your child they are fat or chubby is one thing you should never do. Why? Because most likely they already know and although you may have good intentions, it can prove to be more harmful than you think.

Sydney based Dietician Lyndi Polivnick from The Nude Nutritionist says the conversation about your child’s weight issue can make them more self-conscious and insecure.

So how can you raise the conversation without telling them the obvious?

Start by structuring the conversation around health instead of weight, says Polivnick, speak to them about healthy foods like fruit and vegetables.

Set by example and encourage them to cook with you, help chop the veggies and learn more about their health benefits, how tasty they can be in fresh home cooked meals and their versatility. Get them asking questions about these foods, learning and gaining cooking skills and healthy food knowledge.

Not only should you child be curious, so should you. “Ask your child ‘How does junk food make you feel?’ and ‘How does healthy food make you feel?’ The intrinsic motivation to feel strong, healthy and/or happy is far more effective in long-term weight management then humiliation and punishment,” says Polivnick

As parents, you are your child’s number one role models. If you don’t have a healthy relationship with food, then most likely your child will adopt these practices and carry them into adulthood with them.
“Overweight children are almost guaranteed to be overweight parents, who are likely to go on to have overweight children themselves. We need to break the cycle by giving children practical skills around healthy eating and teaching them how to cook healthy food for themselves,” says Polivnick.

What a child needs is unconditional love from their number one support group, their parents, and their home should be a place where they feel safe, loved and valued no matter what they look like.

“Fear-mongering and unhelpful comments about their appearance and weight are not the answer,” says Polivnick, “The aim is get children eating healthily naturally, without having the diet or stress about their weight.”

So, get that conversation started today. Get the fresh food talk going and those cooking skills brewing so your kids can take their first steps in the right direction towards their healthy future.

By Leah
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