Reach for your best (R4YB): Tips for parents

Healthy children come in different shapes and sizes. A healthy weight for your child is the weight their body is naturally when they regularly enjoy a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle includes eating well, moving well, sleeping well, and supporting mental wellness. Weight is only one marker of health and a healthy weight is different for every child. There is no need to weigh your child at home. Your health care provider will weigh and measure your child to see if they are growing as they should be for their own special pattern.

How can I help my child reach for their best?

Parents and caregivers play an important role in raising healthy, happy children. Focus on health, well-being and fun instead of body weight or measurements. Make small changes that you feel you can continue. Think of changes you can make to behaviours and to your surroundings that will help children to eat well, get moving, get enough sleep, and support their mental wellness. This will increase your child’s resilience and help them reach for their best.

Tips to help children eat well, move well, sleep well and support their mental wellness.

Eat well

As a parent, you have the chance to shape your child’s eating habits for life. Kids learn through what they see and hear, so it’s important to role model healthy eating habits. This means being positive and flexible about food choices and offering healthy foods to your child as much as possible. This will help your child enjoy eating and will make sure that they get the nutrition they need.

Help your child learn to enjoy eating a variety of foods

Make water your drink of choice

Plan, cook, and eat meals together

Offer meals and snacks at regular times each day

Teach your child to listen to their natural hunger and fullness cues

Learn about Canada’s Food Guide (Health Canada).

Learn how to help your toddler or preschooler eat well.

Learn how to help your child or adolescent eat well.

Move well

Being active every day will encourage healthy growth and development in your child. Be a role model. If they see you being physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active too. Try making physical activity part of your family’s daily routine by taking family walks or playing active games together. Make physical activity fun!

Live actively together

Take advantage of affordable physical activities

Limit sedentary time

Sleep well

Sleep can be described as “nutrition for the brain.” Sleep is important for kids to stay healthy, grow, learn, do well in school, and function at their best every day. It can be difficult for parents to know what to do when their child won’t go to sleep at night or has trouble falling asleep. These tips give some suggestions on how to put your child to bed, fall asleep, and get a good night’s sleep.

How to help your child get to sleep

How to help prevent problems at bedtime

Other helpful tips for a good night’s sleep

Support mental wellness

Mental health is about how we feel, think, act, and interact with the world around us. It’s also about helping your child realize their potential, to cope with the normal stresses of life, and giving them the chance to be involved in their community. There are many parts of mental well-being that link to physical health. Your child can’t truly be healthy without it. Good physical health helps to protect mental health and well-being. Talk about and model healthy lifestyle choices. Help your child to understand that eating well, moving well, and sleeping well will help support their mental wellness, and vice versa!

Help your child build healthy connections

Foster positive self-esteem

Reduce weight bias1 and discrimination2

[1] Weight bias is the negative attitudes, beliefs and judgments toward people who are affected by overweight or obesity. For example, people affected by excess weight or obesity are often thought of as less competent, lazy and undisciplined.

[2] Weight discrimination is more than negative attitudes. It’s the unfair or unequal actions or behaviours towards people with excess weight. These actions can range from accidental hurtful comments to avoiding, ignoring, rejecting, and intentional insulting remarks, cyber-bullying or physical attacks.


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This item was last modified on June 22, 2021