Growing up can be difficult for obese children. They are generally clumsy and uncoordinated due to the extra weight. They have low stamina and poor flexibility. Parents often see this and want to help by encouraging them to eat better and to lose weight.
Unfortunately, encouraging an overweight child to lose weight is easier said than done. Even if incentives are provided, the process of losing weight is a long term one. Few children realize that regular exercise or a consistently healthy diet will pay off in the long run. Children can easily become sidetracked by more desirable activities or yummy looking snacks.
You might even think your child is sticking to a healthy diet. He may well be – at least when he’s at home. However, most children will stray from their diet if given a chance. A visit to grandma’s house or a friend’s house, and he will likely eat whatever is offered. Calories mean very little to a child.
Although obese children are loved by family members, they may not get adequate positive reinforcement. It can be frustrating as a parent to see a child struggle when the key to losing weight is so simple. Some parents express their dissatisfaction or disappointment with their child’s inability to lose weight. This well meaning criticism can affect a child’s perceived self worth. He may begin to think he is bad or that there is simply something wrong with him. This can be very confusing and stressful for a child.
Weight loss camps for kids are structured with the idea of positive reinforcement in mind. Children are never condemned, but instead they are praised and supported. This positive atmosphere fosters growth and development. Activities and camp events feature rewards and fun. Kids lose weight without even realizing it, because they are simply having fun with their peers.
Another tool utilized at fat camps is humor. Humor is used in a fun and useful way and never used in an unfair or cruel manner. Many children that have faced criticism from family members in the past begin to open up and flourish due to the humor and positive reinforcement. Camp counselors educate kids on effective ways of dealing with criticism. They help children understanding that criticism is meant to be helpful, and it shows that parents care.
Weight loss camps foster positive growth by focusing on the child as an individual. The fact that a child is overweight becomes irrelevant. Instead, it is his actions and personality that are rewarded and appreciated. Counselors encourage the growth of positive traits like kindness, thoughtfulness, and making new friends.
Some kids don’t want to go to weight loss camp, but even these children eventually come to enjoy the experience. They enjoy making new friends and being part of a positive social group. They thrive off the positive reinforcement and compliments, and they gain confidence. Children grow, learn, and start to see themselves as good people.