Training overweight child

Published on November 24th, 2013 | by Joe Starks

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Help: How to Train My Overweight Child?

It is one of those things a parent finds hard to accept. Most parents with obese children actually believe that their child is of a normal weight. It is just extremely hard for a loving parent to accept that their child has a problem they probably created for it. The harsh truth is that rarely children become obese on their own or because of a genetic predisposition. Most often children become obese from over coddling, overfeeding or a serious lack of affection and attention. Yes, sadly both very lucky and unlucky children can suffer from obesity. The hardest part is to become a slightly harsher (within reason) parent so as to protect your child from a life of obesity.

What have I done wrong?

To train your child to become a lean, normal weight person for life is a very hard thing when we don’t accept the reason why our child might have become overweight. Sometimes the reason is simple; perhaps your child broke a leg and found comfort in food for as long as the healing lasted. Maybe your child hit puberty and the hormones caused an excessive appetite.

Usually the most common reason why children are overweight is the weight of their parents and close family. Having overweight parents is the most common cause of childhood obesity. Even if you think your child’s weight is normal, do check his or her BMI and look up the charts for the child’s age. It is possible that you are wrong and your child is in danger of getting obesity related illnesses, now or in the future.

If your own habits are the problem then you can’t help your child until you too change. Children should NEVER diet. Not in the sense we adults do it. Children need lifestyle changes that are positive, not hunger strikes and tormenting boring exercise. Changing your own bad lifestyle together with your child can be a very bonding experience. Even young children will appreciate the parent’s will to adjust for the greater good of the family.

How to tackle the weight loss?

As mentioned above, you should not have your child diet, in the sense of cutting off most of their food and having them exercise strictly. This can lead to serious disorders and lack of self esteem.  The lifestyle change should be more like a part of growing up well, the way you teach your child to brush its teeth and say thank you when offered something.

Instead of lessening the amount of food, find nice alternatives to the usual fatty snacks your kid loves. Having a “fruit time” every afternoon instead of a crisp and candy time can do wonders. Remember it takes 20 days for a child to start liking a food it doesn’t love, so be patient if fruit isn’t that loved at first. You have to partake in your child’s lifestyle as well. You can’t expect your child to lose weight if you eat crisps while it has to eat vegetables.

Training isn’t just about exercise. It is about a mental preparation for a thin life. It is not easy to be thin and lean, so it is a skill one has to learn and practise. Remember children do grow and just small changes can help your child become leaner.

What exercises are best for overweight children?

Another serious reason why overweight children might not lose weight is that they fear failure when exercising. Very competitive children might prefer not to exercise at all if they can’t do it well. This is a great problem and you should seriously consider that your child might be too competitive and not too lazy to exercise. Children want to feel that what they do has a purpose and that they can excel at it.

Being overweight of course makes over competitiveness even worse, since it is harder to become good at sports when someone if heavy. You have to teach your child that athletic excellence takes time and effort, not talent. No professional athlete got to where he is because he had talent alone.

The best way to get your child to train is by offering it many fun choices. Many children love to play sports games that involve the computer. There are fun games where you have to dance or train together with some digital trainer. This can be a perfect solution for children that are extremely shy. After they gain some exercise experience, children can then move on to do some team sports with other kids their age.

Be sure to find a training group with children the same age as yours. Find something fun and not very competitive for a start. Boy/girl scouts and similar active groups can be just as good an exercise group as a swimming club etc.

So, to make things short:

  • Make sure your own lifestyle as a parent is what you want for your child as well. If it isn’t, simply fix it and lead by example as a parent.
  • If your child’s weight is causing him or her shyness and social angst, then you can start training at home, with fun games or training video games. You don’t have to force your child to be social as well as athletic all at once.
  • Have patience. You are doing this for long term benefits not the prom. Even if it take 2-3 years for your child to learn all the skills it needs to be thin it is alright.

The most important thing is to NEVER give up on your child’s health!

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