Start with thinking about what in the everyday life of your family and your child is already working well. Of course, you should also identify things you want to change or improve, but it’s even more important to find the things that are already working well and build on them.
Avoid watching over your children too closely during meals. It’s important to maintain an encouraging and positive atmosphere at mealtimes. The dining table is not a good place for learning new skills. You can talk about things such as what hunger feels like, how to recognise when you’re full, why it’s nice to eat sweets, how we could eat more vegetables, etc.
Where can I get help?
- Don’t hesitate to bring the matter up at the child welfare clinic or in school healthcare. Public health nurses and doctors are professionals. They are there to help your family. Parents should not be blamed if their child is overweight; on the contrary, the idea is to work together to find ways to overcome any problems.
- Public healthcare can also offer examinations that may be helpful in determining any other factors potentially contributing to a child’s overweight, or how overweight is affecting the child’s situation as a whole.
- Are there any groups currently meeting in your area that could offer you help or support as a family? What about local exercise services? Perhaps you could find a way of exercising that you would like to try.
A few basic questions to improve your everyday eating
- Is our family eating together whenever possible?
- Is my child getting enough sleep?
- How much do we use sugar-containing products in one day?
- Are sweets reserved for special times only?
- Does my child’s screen time exceed two hours?
- Does my child eat breakfast?
- Does my child eat fruit and vegetables every day?
If you want to consider your family’s exercise and eating habits in more detail, you can fill in the Smart Family card. The card contains everyday statements to help find the good choices you are already making as a family as well as the things you want to start changing. The Smart Family card can be filled in at our website. You can also ask your public health nurse/child welfare clinic or school healthcare for a copy.
You should identify things in your everyday life that you want to improve, but it’s just as important to highlight the good choices that are already working well for you.
Read more in the article in the Sydän magazine (in Finnish): Lapsen ylipainossa auttavat pienet ja kannustavat askeleet.
Everyday choices count since many surprising products can contain sugar. See the pictures below.