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What you need to know before getting started

Want to make changes? You’ve got this and we’re here to help. These 6 key tips will help you make your start.

Pick a good time to start

Decide on what you want to start doing, let everyone know and stick with your start date. You are the best judge of this, it could be a time that fits with your regular routine and there are no major disruptions happening. For example, school holidays may not be the best time to start as many family routines change.

Make changes together

If you are making a healthy change, the kids are more likely to do it. Children are more successful at making changes when the whole family do it together.

If you are unsure how to have a conversation with your kids about making a change, here are some helpful phrases to get you started:

  • "We as a family..."
  • "Your mum and I think we should focus on eating more healthy foods and doing more active things together."
  • "There are small things we can do every day like eating healthier..."

Once you have made one start together, it will be easier to take on the next one.

calm dad talking to a fussy eater girl

Parenting is tough, but you are tougher 

We know. Digging deep when you have plenty of other stresses and strains to deal with is tough. But these small daily wins are important. Set the routine and house rules around food, screen time, etc. Don’t be afraid of taking charge and leading by example. Children will challenge something new at first but they will soon go along with it when they know that you mean it.

The following phrases may be helpful:

  • "We’re all going to do this together."
  • "We’re all on the same team."
  • "Dad and I are doing this with you so we can all be a bit healthier."

Get family, friends and carers on board

No need to do this alone. Tell friends, family or other adults who spend a lot of time with your child that you want to make changes. They may not be on-board right away, so it’s important to discuss the reasons you want to do this and let them know you need their help. Tell them clearly what you want them to encourage your children to do.

Be consistent and stick with it

It will get easier, and we’re here to help. Children are most likely going to resist changes at the start. It is at this initial stage that you may find it difficult, and may be tempted to give up. Remember though that if you persist with the same approach you will see the benefits over time. It will take time. Children stop resisting change and adapt to new ways very quickly.

Get your kids involved to help them feel part of it all

When you decide to start, it’s important to involve your children in that decision. It will make them feel important and make them want to succeed in making those changes.

Self-esteem is related to how valued your child feels. Things like getting a child involved in household tasks, such as preparing food, will help them feel valued and promote a good relationship with food. You can promote healthy self-esteem by showing encouragement and enjoyment in many areas of day-to-day life. Focus on a number of things and praise them for the effort they put into something rather that the outcome, e.g. increasing the amount of veg they eat at dinner, or trying to stick to a regular bed-time routine.

© The Food Safety Promotion Board