How To Talk To Kids About Eating And Activity

  • Don’t let annoyances build up and blow up.  Be proactive.  Speak before you’ve “had it up to here.” If you’re not comfortable with your children’s eating and physical activity habits, set aside a time to talk to them about it when you’re both feeling relaxed.
  •  Speak from the heart.  Why is this important? Tell them how much you care about them and their health and well being.
  •  Share stories of real people you know who have benefited or been limited because of their nutrition and physical activity habits.  Share your personal successes and challenges. Help them to understand what a difference health habits can make in the quality of their lives.
  •  To stop the daily struggles, set some agreed upon limits and stick to them. For example, your  may decide to set limits of no more than two hours of screen time a day and up to two soft drinks a week. Then when the issue comes up, you can fall back on the limit.  “You’ve already had two sodas this week, so you can pick water, juice or milk.” Or “Your screen time is up for the day. What else would you like to do?”

 

  • When setting a limit, take the time to connect with your child first.  Find out how and what they are doing.  For example, if he is very stressed out about homework he’s working on, it’s probably not the time to establish a new rule. Establish eye contact. Speak clearly and kindly.  Listen to his point of view.

 

·         Involve kids in decisions.

            For younger kids:

o   “We’re going to do something active together as a family this week. What ideas do you have?” 

o   “I’m going to get some fruit at the grocery. What would you like?”

 

For older kids:

o   “Kids your age are supposed to get at least 60 minutes of movement every day to stay healthy.  How would you like to make that happen?”

o   “I’ve noticed you’re eating a lot of sweets lately.  I want you to be as strong and healthy and to feel as good as you possibly can.  Lots of sweets can zap that.  What do you think?”

 

  • Your actions speak louder than your words.  Walk it so you can talk it.

 

  • The nutrition and physical activity environments you create in your home speak louder than words.  If you have junk food and electronic entertainment galore, all the talk in the world probably won’t help your children make healthy choices.