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Motivate your Kids to Eat Healthily

What’s the best way to motivate your children? It’s important to know that you’re the best example your child can have. Start early since kids begin to imitate their parents at a very young age. Resist the urge to bribe your child with toys, food, or other treats to cooperate. That teaches bad habits.

Want your kid to eat his vegetables? Eat your vegetables. Want to show him the importance of breakfast? have yours. Get up and go for a walk together to show him that moving is fun. Here are some healthy ways to motivate your little ones:

Reward Them With Mom or Dad Time
Instead of bribing your child with a dessert or something where they’re just sitting like TV time or video games, make active time together a prize. Take a bike ride together for example or let your child plan a day full of activities they take pleasure in.
Reason why this works: Kids crave your attention particularly if they have to share time with siblings. Never underrate how much one-on-one attention means to your kids, even your teen.

Don’t Use Food as a Reward
Making sweets or junk food a reward teaches your kids to use food to fix their feelings. That can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Adults who are rewarded and punished with food as kids are more likely to binge eat and diet. Withholding treats because of misbehavior isn’t good either. The banned food becomes more attractive.

Create a Cooking Challenge
Would like to encourage a picky eater to try new veggies? Choose one from the supermarket that neither of you has ever tried before. After that, go home and try a recipe that includes it. Or give your child a selection of healthy ingredients, as on a cooking show. Let him decide how to make them into dinner. If he’s interested in how a new food or dish turns out, he’ll be more likely to try it.

Show Them Exercise Feels Good
If you’re trying to get your kids to move more, aid them realize that exercise feels good! Make a move together. After you two go on a bike ride or play tennis, communicate about how you feel. It encourages your child to notice the same feeling himself, and that’s a natural motivation to move. Ideally, your child has to be active at least 60 minutes a day.

Break Out the Pedometers
Still looking for a way to convince your child it’s good to move? Buy low-priced pedometers, or step counters, for the whole family. Start a family challenge: Score everyone’s daily steps on a chart you keep on the fridge. You don’t even need a prize for the weekly winner. Using the gadget itself, along with some friendly competition, can motivate your child to move throughout the day and stay fit.

Praise Effort, Not Just Results
Children require praise. Focus on their effort more than the end result if you want to motivate them. When your child shows you a picture he made, don’t just say it’s good. Admire him for how hard he worked on it. Pay attention to the specific details. In case your child is trying to learn a new sport, talk about how proud you are that he’s practicing it. Avoid focusing on winning or losing a game.

Inspire them by watching Others
No matter what habit you’re trying to inspire, kids look up to other people. Use that to your benefit when you’re trying to get them to move more. Take them to see a professional team play basketball for example. It will motivate them a lot more than anything you can say.

Offer Choices, Some Control
Give your kids options instead of ordering them to do a task or eat a vegetable. Suggest several choices if they want to have a fruit or a vegetable. Giving them some power will help motivate them. Plus, giving them choices now teaches them how to make good choices later.

To learn more about how you as parents can help your child avoid or fight obesity, check this article: Childhood obesity: How can grown-ups help?

Christelle Bedrossian
Dietitian-Nutritionist

Author Info

Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian

Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian dedicates some of her time to address us through the various media outlets and provide answers to our questions. As a prominent professional in the field of dietetics, Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian is frequently hosted on several local and international television and radio stations to offer up to date advice and tips on health and nutrition. Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian is a writer and nutrition consultant for a variety of written publications, both print and online magazines and newspapers.
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