Building the Skills for Self-Improvement
A child with confidence in her abilities and who feels good about the person she is likely to have an easier time meeting the challenge of a new fitness program than a child with low self-esteem. Helping your child to recognize her inherent value is just as important, if not more so, than controlling her weight. Weight loss is not a panacea for other problems in her life. She can't be happy with the way she feels and looks until she's happy about who she is.
You can help your young child build faith in herself and her abilities by allowing her to make decisions on her own and then backing those choices. Even if it's just whether to wear the red shirt or the green one, free choice is a good exercise in helping your child realize that her decisions have value.
Don't undermine your child's blossoming independence by letting her make a choice and then telling her it's a bad one. As long as her choices don't compromise her safety, they don't infringe on the rights of others, and are reasonable, let them stand. Does it really matter if she chooses a polka-dotted shirt and plaid pants? As a wise mother once said, choose your battles and forget the rest.
Expose your child to new places, people, and experiences. When she's encouraged to take social risks, she gains confidence in her communication and relationship skills. It's also a good practice to give her age-appropriate responsibilities. Even toddlers can pick up their toys or fill the pet's food and water bowl. Completing tasks and meeting responsibilities gives your child a sense of achievement and builds further self-reliance. Once a child feels capable, trusted, and valued, she will be empowered to meet the fitness goals ahead of her.