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Tips for helping your child to start out the new year healthy

Posted Feb 10 2010 12:00am

So, you noticed that your child or teen made New Year's resolutions a few weeks ago but nothing seems to have changed -- what is a parent to do?

Here are some tips to help them regain confidence and make a permanent commitment:

  • Recruit one or two of your child's close friends to make similar health commitments and changes as those that your child has expressed they are wanting to make.
  • Make an appointment for your child or teen to speak with his or her physician to discuss any questions or concerns. This can provide some time and encouragement from a usually reliable third person source; often with teens, especially, this can be a great motivator.
  • Start to exercise your self -- join a gym or go out for a walk or run every morning or evening or as your schedule allows. Invite your child or teen to join you -- take advantage also of this one-on-one time to communicate with your child or teen.
  • Bring healthy food options into the home, keep non-healthy options out of your home.
  • Build on your child or teen's past accomplishments for encouragement. If they have lost a bit of weight or seems to exercise just a bit more or seemed to grab an extra fruit or try a new vegetable or stopping to drink sodas or drinking less juice -- praise them for taking these first important steps!
  • Help them to watch less TV by turning it off and turning on some music in the house. Encourage other activities.
  • Help your child or teen to learn how to cope with stress. Enlist the help of a school, community or church counselor for particular challenges.
  • Do not panic, do not criticize your child or teen -- this will only make them feel ashamed and may push them further from their goal while alienating themselves for communicating with you.

Click here for further suggestions from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Picture by PhotoXpress, Florian Hiltmair

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