Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Lifestyle changes for your child's weight - Children’s weight

Contact your GP or public health nurse (PHN) if you're concerned about your child’s weight. 

If your child has a higher weight for their age, your GP or PHN can help you find options to manage this. They might also suggest that you see a dietitian, paediatrician, or weight management service.

What to do if you are concerned about your child's weight

Managing your child's weight

Managing your child’s weight is about improving health and wellbeing, not losing weight. Lifestyle changes can make a big improvement to your child's health.

Helping your child eat healthily

Physical activity is important for everyone. Children need to spend even more time than adults being active each day.

Teaching your children to be active

Make changes together as a family

Involve your whole family in making lifestyle changes. Eating healthy food and being active every day makes a big difference to everybody’s wellbeing. It will also mean that your child does not feel singled out.

Children are more likely to make changes when the whole family does it together. You are their role model, so it’s important that you all make the same healthy changes. Parents and other adults involved in their care need to be on board with the changes.

Get your children involved in grocery shopping and cooking healthy meals. Preparing food will help them feel valued and will help them have a good relationship with food. Cooking is an important skill for their wellbeing.

Healthy recipes for families -

Talk to your child about these changes. Encourage them on the effort they are putting in.

Starting a new routine

When choosing to start new routines, pick a good time of the year. For example, school holidays may not be the best time to start as many families' routines stop.

Start small when your child is in a routine. Add more changes gradually.

Changing routines takes time. It can help to take a few minutes each week to think about how you are doing. Write down your plans to remind you.

Celebrate success with star charts or other treats. For example, a trip to their favourite place, stickers, or playing a game together.

Advice on making healthy changes -

Be calm and consistent when making changes

Children might resist any changes when they are first introduced. You might find it hard to stick to the new routine at this stage. But if you are calm and consistent in your approach, they will soon stop resisting the changes.

If you follow through on changes, it will be easier to introduce new ones in the future.

Page last reviewed: 7 February 2023
Next review due: 7 February 2026