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Commenting On Your Child’s Weight Can Bring Terrible Results, Study Finds

Commenting On Your Child’s Weight Can Bring Terrible Results, Study Finds

Childhood obesity is a major problem currently facing our nation today. The statistics are staggering. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the past 30 years the obesity rate in children has doubled, and quadrupled in teens. The health risk associated with children who develop issues with their weight early are astronomical.

Most parents may not fully understand all of the health issues stemming from childhood obesity. But most are concerned with the overall well-being of their children and are aware that being overweight is unhealthy and carries consequences.

How a parent approaches this issue is of the utmost importance. So before telling your child that they are looking a little “thick” or “chunky,” here are a few things you may want to consider.

Dealing with a child’s weight can be a touchy subject

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    Should parents talk to an overweight or obese child about their weight? Or do they say nothing? Parents in this situation can really be torn. On one hand, if they do say something they run the risk of shaming a child, damaging their child’s self esteem and distorting his or her body image. This can lead to eating disorders, binge eating, depression and other psychologically damaging issues. On the other hand, if they choose to say nothing, they are missing an opportunity to help prevent their child from having potentially serious and long-term health problems.

    A new study offers this guidance: Don’t make comments about a child’s weight.

    Researchers did not distinguish between positive or negative comments in the study published in the journal Eating & Weight Disorders, because they found that any comment a child (especially girls) remembered hearing about their weight predicted a heavier body mass index and more overall dissatisfaction with their body type–even if weight was not an issue.

    Other studies have been able to link the critical comments of parents to an increased risk of obesity. One large government-funded study that followed thousands of 10-year-old girls found that, at the start of the study, nearly 60 percent of the girls said an adult close to them had told them they were “too fat.” By age 19, those who had been saddled with that label were more likely to be obese, regardless to whether or not they were actually overweight when they were 10.

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    In an interview with The Guardian, Dr. Rachel Rodgers, associate professor at the department of applied psychology at Northeastern University in Boston, put it this way:

    “Parents should avoid commenting on their children’s weight or appearance: that includes criticism, teasing, or even ‘positive’ statements. They should avoid encouraging their children to diet, or suggesting they need to lose weight. They should avoid ‘not allowing’ certain foods, telling their children that certain foods are ‘bad’ or trying to restrict their children’s diets.”

    Dr. Rodgers went on to convey the idea that in the minds of children weight and their physical appearance becomes associated with their self-worth and how they value themselves as a person.

    How to approach the issue of children, weight and your concerns

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    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration

      Experts suggest a more delicate and indirect approach when dealing with issues of children weight concerns and getting them to eat healthier.

      1. Model healthy eating

      Sit down and eat meals with your child whenever possible. When you are watching TV with them, prepare yourself (and them) a healthy snack. Model good portion control and how to stop eating once you’ve had enough

      2. Avoid rewarding and punishing with food

      Try to avoid labeling foods as good or bad. Find new ways to reward your children for good grades or other major accomplishments. Instead of going for ice cream, let them pick a fun activity to do. And in lieu of letting them pick the restaurant to celebrate, allow them to select the movie for movie night.

      3. Allow them to help you prepare meals

      Preparing healthy meals with your children is a great way to bond and model healthy alternatives. It is also a great way to discuss how to make healthy food choices.

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      4. Avoid dieting in front of them and refrain from suggesting that they go on a diet

      If you decide to go on a diet, you may not want to share the details with your children. Also, be careful how you frame your responses. Instead of saying you are dieting to fit into a dress or look better, you may want to tell them you are trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

      Featured photo credit: Jeri Johnson via stocksnap.io

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      Published on September 28, 2018

      The Top 21 Kids Websites to Teach Responsibility and Life Skills

      The Top 21 Kids Websites to Teach Responsibility and Life Skills

      Letting your children navigate the internet on their own is like throwing them into the Wild West for them to fend for themselves. The internet can be a dangerous place for children if they are on the wrong websites.

      We all want to protect our children, so knowing the websites that are safe for our kids is of utmost importance. What we also want as parents are websites that teach our children life skills and responsibility.

      There are great websites, geared for children, that will engage your child and have them learning at the same time. Below are the top 21 websites for teaching children life skills and responsibility. All of the sites have been vetted and approved by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.”

      Always monitor children when they are using the internet. Parental guidance for age appropriateness is recommended when your child uses any of the websites listed below. What is appropriate for an eight year old is not always appropriate or suited for a four year old.

      These 21 websites can have your kids engaged, entertained, learning, and developing new skills.  Most of them are intended to engage children of various ages, so look for the content on each site that is appropriate for your child’s age and ability level.

      1. PBS Kids

        This website is loaded with games, educational activities and videos that will please both child and parent.

        This site engages children in activities and videos that teach them about citizenship, different cultures, geography, global awareness, hypothesis testing, investigating, self-reflection, personal growth, empathy, respect for others, labeling feelings and more.

        For example, the Webonauts Internet Academy teaches kids how to be safe online and Wild Kratts teaches kids about different habitats around the world.

        There is a great deal of content on this website. Head to their site today to discover what your child could be missing out on!

        2. Curious World

          This site is geared for kids ages 2-7. The main character guiding kids on an educational journey is Curious George. If your child is a fan of the books or cartoon, then you should check out this website.

          There are eight key areas of learning covered on this website including math, reading, and science. This website makes learning fun with games and child appropriate online activities. It also includes hands on activities for parents to do with their child.

          Activities such as crafting, cooking, and art projects with detailed instructions are provided, so that parents can interact with their children to build important life skills.

          3. News-O-Matic

            This is a news website geared for kids. The content helps them learn about the world and its happenings, in a website that is made for kids.

            There are daily editions of which include new articles every day on a variety of subjects and topics. The articles are written to grab the attention of a child reader. You will find that even reluctant readers find this site entertaining.

            If you have a passion for the news and keeping up with the changing world, then you can ignite this passion in your children by getting them started on the News-O-Matic website.

            Some of the skills that kids can learn while utilizing this site include reading comprehension, increased vocabulary, geography recognition, critical thinking, perspective taking, reasoning, and cultural awareness.

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            4. National Geographic Kids

              The National Geographic Kids website teaches kids about animals, space, the natural world, dinosaurs, insects and more. They use games, videos, and online activities to connect children with learning about our natural world.

              There are valuable skills reinforced in the online activities including the use of logic, memory, applying information, investigation, problem solving, and imagination.

              There is a great deal of free content on this website that can be utilized without being a paid subscriber.

              5. ABC Mouse

                This website is geared for children ages 2-7. This is a learning website that covers the subjects of reading, math, social studies, science, health, writing, art, and music.

                Some of the skills that are taught on this site through the website activities include following directions, letter recognition, word recognition, phonics, reading comprehension, speaking, memorization, solving puzzles, measurement, goal achievement, rhythm, and more.

                This website boats that it contains a comprehensive curriculum with more than 8,500 learning activities. It is a great tool for preschoolers preparing for kindergarten.

                There are also lessons and activities that are more advanced beyond kindergarten.

                This is a subscription based program. It has won many awards because of its comprehensive nature and successful curriculum.

                6. FunBrain

                  This educational website has a great deal of free content, so your child can access hundreds of activities without a subscription.

                  There are games and activities for kids to play while they learn at the same time. Kids will use the following skills while playing on this website: problem solving, puzzle solving, reading, vocabulary, math, and reasoning.

                  What makes this site unique is that there are online versions of popular kid’s books including the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series.

                  7. Nourish Interactive

                    This website is geared toward nutrition for children. It is a free website.

                    There are games, printable activities, recipes and tools on this site that teach children about nutrition.

                    The goal of the site is to help children learn to make healthy eating choices at a young age, so they can have this skill for life. The site also teaches about cooking, with many healthy recipes available free.

                    8. Arthur Family Health

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                      Arthur is a favorite cartoon character on PBS. The Arthur Family Health website is for kids to learn about resilience, fitness, peanut allergies, asthma, and more.

                      Health is not an easy topic to address with children, but this website does a great job by utilizing games, videos, and activities that are age appropriate and fun.

                      9. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

                        This website uses the popular PBS cartoon character Daniel Tiger. This website has games, activities, and videos geared toward younger children.

                        The skills that are taught on this site include expressing emotions appropriately, eating healthy, making friends, brushing teeth, dealing with disappointment and toilet training.

                        There are stories with a narrator for kids to listen to, simple games to play, videos to watch, and songs to engage younger children.

                        It is an entertaining site for younger kids and the topics teach great life skills for little ones! This is a free website.

                        10. BrainPop

                          This website is geared for children in the fourth grade and older. It is a paid subscription site. However, there are some games and videos that are available free on this site.

                          This website helps kids academically. There are also life skills and lessons addressed on the site. They address even the most sensitive and tough topics such as war, terrorism, sexual development, and alcoholism.

                          Reviewers of the site say that this website is useful for kids all the way through high school.

                          11. Arcademic Skill Builder

                            This website is geared toward helping young students acquire math, language arts, English and critical-thinking skills. This site is filled with games and activities to keep kids entertained while learning.

                            This website has a strong emphasis on math skills including addition, subtraction, counting, division, fractions, money, multiplication, ratios, and shapes.

                            If your child is struggling with their math skills, then this site can be of great help. Many of the games and activities are free.

                            12. Cyberchase

                              This website is based on the PBS show Cyberchase. It is geared toward children who can read or are learning to read. It helps kids acquire critical thinking and reading skills.

                              The site is filled with free games, videos and activities that keep kids entertained, engaged, and learning. Some of the games get kids to think about real life situations to utilize their problem solving skills. Brainstorming is a another skill that is utilized on this site. It is a free website.

                              13. Fact Monster

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                                This website was created in partnership with educational professional. It is a site that is a great help for children completing homework. They can find facts on dozens of subjects on this site along with dictionary and atlas.

                                The content is more than browsing and providing information. There are games and activities to entertain kids on the site while they learn. Interesting to note, the site contains more than 30,000 short biographies!

                                This website is a game changer for home work time. Some of the skills that kids apply on this site include problem solving, thinking, reasoning, and self-direction.

                                14. Maggie’s Earth Adventures

                                  This website gets kids thinking and learning about the world and its vast ecosystems. It is a free site that teaches kids about the earth.

                                  Real life situations are presented in short videos. Then kids play games that touch on the subjects of animals, earth, recycling, and injustice.

                                  Some of the skills that they can acquire on this site include cultural understanding, global awareness, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, investigation, prediction, and thinking critically.

                                  15. PBS Lab

                                    PBS Lab is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This grant requires them to research the games and their effectiveness in helping kids learn real skills. The result is a website where kids actually learn while they have fun.

                                    This site teaches kids the skills they need to be successful in school. The website is useful for kids ages three and up. Some of the skills that kids learn on this site include math, reading, spelling, word recognition, measuring, and pattern recognition. This site is free!

                                    16. Sesame Street

                                      This website is based on the TV program. Kids are entertained by their favorite Muppets in games, songs, podcasts, videos, and activities.

                                      This site can be used by children ages two and up, so it is one of the best options for very young children.

                                      Some of the skills taught on this site include empathy, labeling emotions, brushing teeth, hygiene, addition, subtraction, counting, measuring, recognizing shapes, understanding cultural differences, following directions, letter recognition, word recognition, spelling, respecting others, asking questions, problem solving, use of imagination, and making new creations.

                                      This site has a great deal of value for parents who want their children to be learning practical life skills while they are on the internet being entertained. This website is completely free!

                                      17. Star Fall

                                        This educational website is geared for children ages four and up. Although this is a subscription website, there is content that users can try out before purchasing.

                                        The website is run through a non profit organization and the price for subscription to the site is low because they want to make the content available widespread to benefit many children.

                                        Some of the skills that kids can learn on this website are addition, subtraction, counting, division, equations, fractions, geometry, grouping, measuring, multiplication, number recognition, shape recognition, reading, letter recognition, and word recognition.

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                                        There are games, lots of songs, and activities to engage young children. The primary focus on this site is math and literacy.

                                        18. How Stuff Works

                                          This website is geared toward older children. It is a site filled with articles, podcasts, games, quizzes, and polls. There is a wealth of information on this site, which makes it useful for homework projects.

                                          The articles are attention grabbing, which help to snag the reader and get them interested in everything from the history of specific holidays to learning how super-volcanos work.

                                          This site touches on eleven primary categories of learning: animals, health, science, tech, automobiles, culture, home & garden, finances, lifestyle, entertainment, and adventure.

                                          Some of the skills that kids can learn through using this site include: building, gardening, self-direction, creativity, researching, empathy, understanding different cultures, and developing novel solutions.

                                          19. Nick Jr

                                            This website is based on the tv shows from the Nick Jr network. Young kids can learn while they interact with their favorite characters on this website. Bubble Guppies, Paw Patrol, Sunny, and dozens of other characters can be found on this site.

                                            There are games, video, stories, and printable activities found on this website. The site is entertaining for kids and they learn a variety of skills including math and reading.

                                            The content is geared toward preschool learning, and it is free.

                                            20. Space Racers

                                              This website is based on the show. The site is designed to get preschoolers excited about space and science.

                                              The learning on this site is based on STEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It comes through games, coloring pages, videos, music segments, lesson plans, and printouts from the lessons.

                                              There are a total of 17 lesson plans that use STEM concepts. The skills that kids learn from using this site include observation, teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, mathematics, decision making, hypothesis testing, and goal setting.

                                              The science subjects taught on this site through the entertaining and engaging content include astronomy, rocket science, geology, and physics. This website is free!

                                              21. Crayola

                                                This website comes from the Crayola company. It is a free website.

                                                When kids click on the “play zone” they can find educational games and activities. The site has many free printable and coloring activities.

                                                The following skills can be learned by kids who use this site: following directions, drawing, painting, making digital creations, use of imagination, innovation, and making new creations.

                                                There are a great deal of DIY craft projects with detailed instructions found on this website.

                                                Featured photo credit: Ben Mullins via unsplash.com

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