Do you wonder if your child has a weight issue? Overweight? Underweight? If you wonder at all, don’t wait to help them do something about it.
Nine year old Jenny never liked it when the teacher told the class to line up for the two captains to choose sides. Not only was she never selected to be a team captain, she was always chosen last, whomever of the captains was stuck with the last pick. Jenny had battled overeating as far back as she could remember. She just couldn’t help giving herself heaping portions and asking for seconds. Munchies? Forget about it. It seemed like there was always something sweet-tasting close by. Because of her weight and being uncoordinated, she was always chosen last.
Six year old Bobby didn’t have Jenny’s problem. He was athletic, slim, and had an abundance of energy. In fact, too much energy. The doctor had told his mom that he was hyper, whatever that meant. Now he takes pills to help him slow down. But he likes going fast. He just doesn’t like getting into trouble and forgetting to slow down enough to do his schoolwork. He hates it when he hears the boys calling him “stupid.”
These children have weight issues that both need to be addressed by their parents and by their pediatrician. Physicians encourage parents of all children to get them regular check-ups monthly after birth, every 6 months sometime later, and at least annually up to age 10. There are medical charts that indicate average weight for children according to age and height. There’s also an average range for body mass index. If these numbers are in the average range, but your child has body image issues anyway, use your active listening to help her understand her feelings and plan activities and encourage positive self-worth and social interaction. If your child is getting medicine for being hyper, watch his weight carefully. This kind of medicine can have a side effect of children losing their appetite. Keep your child healthy with a high protein, high caloric diet to encourage weight maintenance.
Stay on top of any weight issues your child may have. Include them in your discussions, at an age appropriate level. Don’t wait. You may just help them avoid both physical health and mental health concerns in the long run.