Being a parent to a tween can often feel like an impossible task. Add to that attempting to engage them in methods to increase their activity levels and improve their healthy eating and it can feel like pulling teeth. However, there are some successful ways in which you can support your tween to be fitter and healthier.

young girl skateboarding

Here are a few things for you to try:

Lead by example

“Do as I say, not as I do” is something that many parents say when their offspring question why expectations of them seem to differ vastly.

In reality, if you do not reflect what you hope for from your kid, it is unlikely that they will demonstrate respect for you and follow your advice.

Instead, choose to be active and do fitness classes, for example, and reduce the calorific snacks and alcohol that you consume.

Encourage physical activity

In addition to compulsory PE lessons at school, try to get your tween involved in physical activity for leisure and on a regular basis.

There are countless opportunities for extra-curricular activities involving fitness, from dance classes to swimming, handball to badminton.

Forcing attendance probably won’t work in your favour but gentle encouragement and perhaps even taking part in something together might be beneficial.

Involve tweens in meal planning

Healthy eating and meal planning ought to be a family affair. Involving your tweens in the decision-making process can be helpful as they will feel as though things are not being dictated to them, but rather that they have a say in the matter.

Allowing them to choose meals that are tasty to them as well as healthy can be helpful and feel far less prescriptive.

Additionally, ensure that there are plenty of wholesome foods available for snacking – without this, dashing to the shops and purchasing a chocolate bar or packet of crisps will be the far easier option.

Teach your tween to cook

While choosing meals is one thing, allowing them to become a part of mealtimes when it comes to cooking is another thing and equally important as it builds strong foundations for your child’s future.

Talking through decisions about which oil is best or how to reduce the number of calories or amount of fat in a dish can help your tween to consider their diet while not appearing overly controlling, which could easily backfire.

Take part in events and challenges

Whether it is a family and friends challenge or an organised one for charity, becoming involved in something that relies on being active, like walking, hiking, running, cycling or swimming, can be a useful thing to encourage.

Trying to walk more steps than others in your family or raise a larger amount of money can be motivating for your tween and for you, too!

Avoid weighing and measuring

Weighing and measuring a tween’s body can be detrimental to them becoming more active and healthier. In fact, it places more importance on the numbers on scales or a tape measure rather than focusing on how the individual feels and acts.

It can also create a negative relationship from an early age with weight and size. Avoid this approach at all costs as eating disorders are quite easy to develop from this kind of treatment.

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