Five Ways to Help Your Child Lose Weight

With your help and encouragment, the pounds will melt away.

By Tracy Leigh Ritts


If you have a child who struggles with his weight, there are ways to help him successfully shed pounds. It’s not easy, and the number-one thing to remember is to be supportive and never judgmental. Take it easy and gently — in other words, try your best not to “nag.”

While there aren’t any quick and easy solutions, if you and your son or daughter take it one step at a time, you will instill a legacy of healthful eating. In addition to the support only you can give, here are five tips to help your child lose weight:

  1. Visit the pediatrician before beginning any weight loss program. With the doctor’s advice, set realistic goals with your child. Depending on your child’s age and weight, it might be best to work on maintaining weight, rather than losing pounds. If, however, your pediatrician recommends losing weight, set a moderate goal of shedding one half to one pound per week.

  2. Make it a family affair. Even if no one else in the family is overweight, everyone can benefit from eating more healthfully. Cut back on sugar-filled snacks and replace them with fresh fruit. Choose popcorn instead of potato chips, brown rice instead of white, frozen low-fat yogurt instead of ice cream. These types of changes will make it easier for your child to stay on track.

  3. Encourage your child to exercise. Bike riding, ice skating, skiing, walking the family dog, roller skating or rollerblading, basketball, or any other type of sport or physical activity your child enjoys are all good examples of ways you can make exercise fun.

  4. Consider a reward system. Every time a goal is met, treat your child to something special: a night at the movies, a new toy/game, a trip to the zoo, or anything else that is reasonable. Make it as fun as possible!

  5. Follow-up with your child’s pediatrician on a regular basis. Weight loss, especially if it’s too fast, can cause problems with your child’s overall health, so plan to visit the pediatrician throughout the process to make sure your child stays healthy.

Losing weight isn’t easy for anyone, regardless of age. By following the above steps, you can help your child lose weight in a healthful, safe manner in an environment of support and love.

Tracy Leigh Ritts is a freelance writer based in Ohio. She’s the author of How to Plan Your Own Wedding and Save Thousands…Without Going Crazy.