Yummy25 ways to create an overweight child

Written by Ava Parnass, Listen To Me Please

Most of my readers and colleagues know that I wrote a parenting book titled “Hungry Feelings not Hungry Tummy” and a children’s book titled “My Feelings are Hungry.” The topic of overeating is something I have focused on for many years.

I have listened to thousands of parents of overweight children, for two decades, telling me their child is not really overweight. I have listened to parents defend and explain why they do what they do and it’s moved me to write this tongue-in-cheek post.

Over the years, parents have defended themselves and lectured me while attempting to convince me that they did the right things – as I am looking straight at their very overweight child. But not to worry: I will turn my experiences into 25 tips to help.

I do know that parenting is a tough job and I sympathize with others and myself. However, if your child is overweight please consider a parenting makeover. You’re sacrificing your child’s mental and emotional health for your own unmet buried childhood needs.

On with the tips…
1.Keep your baby in the stroller, car seat or crib for more than 30 minutes a day (not including nap-time and night-time).

2. Get your exercise by walking around and pushing the stroller but only have your baby/toddler come out periodically. It’s just easier to have them NOT walk, right? Less to worry about.

3. Tell yourself, “My child is fine! I work out each day by walking the baby in the stroller and I’m sure that will rub off on my kid!” Oh – and don’t forget to think about how tired they are, even though they did nothing! Maybe they need an extra nap and some additional down time.

4. When you see an ice cream truck and wish you could have some, but know you don’t want to gain weight, buy your child a treat for no good reason – just so you can taste it. Show your child that you have some eating issues; this will assist with their own future overeating struggles.

5. When you are too tired to make dinner, serve pizza and ice cream in the same day, more than once a month.

6. Plan activities that you think your kids will like when all they really want to do is run around in the park.

7. Have your children do many adult activities that you like such as sitting in a restaurant or sitting at a music concert. You can also force them to sit for a picnic in the park. You may think you are giving them a culture lesson but you’re not honoring their developmental need to run around and play pretend. Under the guise of culture you can make them overweight.

8. Have them sit on the beach or in the lounge chair instead of running around and playing in the sand. That way, you can relax too, because you won’t need to worry about watching them.

9. Do what’s convenient for you instead of meeting their needs: “You can’t walk now because it’s too far from home,” “You have to stay in the stroller or car seat for two more hours,”  “I have to go shopping now so you have to sit in the car and don’t forget you need to behave! Here is some food to make you behave.” (Yummy!)

10. Always think they’re hungry when you’re really hungry. This way, you will always be overfeeding them.

11. If you can’t handle the normal ‘upset’ that kids have daily, when they are disappointed or need autonomy, you should offer them food.

12 Don’t forget to feed them when they are very upset, while you’re focused on adult activities. Food solves every problem!

13. Don’t forget to ask them if they are hungry when they didn’t ask for food and be sure to offer them food for no reason. This is good training for overeating.

14. Don’t forget to develop the sweet palate and offer high calorie foods with lots of sugar weekly or daily. In fact, keep candy stocked in the cupboard so they can scream for it. Say, “No more candy!” but then give in, anyway, so they learn that negative behaviors are rewarded with sweets.

15. Don’t forget to eat out a lot to get those extra hidden calories.

16. Don’t forget to eat fast food weekly. Be sure the kids eat in the car, while sitting down, and then keep them in a sedentary situation for the rest of the day (watching TV, etc).

17. Don’t forget to keep a lot of junk food and unhealthy food in the house so they keep begging for it.

18. Don’t forget to let them see you snacking on junk all the time and don’t forget to fight about how much they eat all the time (the very things you trained them to eat).

19. Let’s not forget to let them watch a ton of TV the first two years, when they shouldn’t be watching it at all.

20. Remember to be on your phone, texting and visiting facebook, instead of playing with them, talking, kissing and cuddling.

21. Also, please control everything your children do so that it pleases you. Controlling parents are great for producing overeating issues.

22.  Also, boss your kids around all the time so you feel good. They can turn to food as an outlet for the frustration.

23. Don’t forget to yell at the kids and punish them instead of teaching them the new skills they need to learn as little humans.

24. Don’t forget to travel by car or in stroller to the schools that are far away, thereby removing their play time, active time, and time with you, because of the commute.

25. Remember to contradict, lecture, explain and talk too much – instead of listening to how your kids feel.

P.S. I know that most of you reading this will say, “Oh, I don’t do that!” but if your child is overweight YOU ARE DOING THAT!

P.S.S And please don’t forget to give a candy bar with lots of sugar before bedtime, its a great ritual!

Tomorrow I will return to my kind personality.




6 Responses to 25 ways to Create an Overweight Child

  1. Dr. Sally says:

    Ohhhh Ava, you have really hit on something big (no pun intended!). I am totally of the opinion that obesity starts in the first three years and continues on from there, and now you have just presented that point of view loudly and clearly. I have written for years many articles about using strollers and infant seats properly (not too often and not too much).

    They were originally designed for the purpose of taking over for those times when parents cannot hold or walk with their little ones. They were never intended to have cup holders and eating trays or to end up looking like little living units all of their own.

    There are many specific times for children to eat and drink, and none of them are while being wheeled around in a closed mobile unit. In addition, sleep problems are totally connected to the sedentary lifestyle of children who don’t get to be truly mobile all day.

    Now you are making me think that we need to do something very directed and major to alert parents of dangers to which they might unknowingly be exposing their children. I think we have to create clear guidelines for all baby equipment related to their intended use.

  2. aparnass says:

    Thanks DR Sally for weighing in!!!
    It start in infancy..Ck out the picture on the cover of my book.
    I worked with the baby and mom for over a year and a half.
    Love this….(lol) There are many specific times for children to eat and drink, and none of them are while being wheeled around in a closed mobile unit.
    This is a great idea…I think we have to create clear guidelines for all baby equipment related to their intended use.
    The problem in none of the moms I tell this to, that are doing it, want to change what they are doing..they cant see it ..hence this post:)

  3. Dr. Sally says:

    Wow! Now this seems to me like a hidden killer. Even more reason to attack this problem aggressively. It tears my heart out to see so many heavy children and know that they are victims.

  4. Shara says:

    When I saw this article for the first time I thought, “Dr. Sally would certainly like these tips!” 🙂 I was reminded of the numerous times Sally has written about stroller use, not using food as a reward system, modeling self regulation skills for our kids in regard to food, etc.

    I’ll admit, Ava – I do some of the things on this list. My kids are all very healthy and no one in our family is overweight. Do you think obesity has a genetic factor, also? We learned to just keep candy OUT of the house – so the kids don’t beg for it or get angry when we set limits. We allow the kids to have treats now and again but not daily.

    That said, we keep VERY active in our home. My kids play before school: riding bikes, using scooters, jumping on the trampoline, running around, doing arts/crafts, doing experiments, etc. We put them into an afternoon school so they’d have plenty of play time every morning, before SITTING for several hours. We don’t watch much TV at all and we eat lots of real/raw foods. We stay away from processed junk and fast food. We do LOVE ice cream, though 🙂

  5. Naomi says:


    You make me laugh. What a funny post. I look at my children and do not want them to be overweight but find it hard when they grow out and then grow taller. I have to remember boys do eat quite a lot and that with the amount of physical exercise they do they will be hungry. So long as it is not their emotions they are feeding all is good.

  6. aparnass says:

    Hi Naomi
    thanks for Commenting and I’m glad you appreciate that it’s funny!!
    I’m generally not a funny writer, And I always appreciate those that can write in a funny way!!
    I was just feeling kind of tongue-in-cheek with the thousandth parent that was doing the same thing over and over again.
    yes boys are very active and can eat more,but so can active girls!
    I do this with most most kids even if they are just over for a play date. If I noticed they’re having way too many snacks Even if they’re running around,
    I always ask them if they have something on their minds and give them a few choices of feelings if I noticed that they are overeating …. I do this without commenting on the overeating.
    I find when they talk about what’s on their mind they stop the overeating.
    I also find that many commands and controlling contribute to the overeating…
    I was riding my bike with my child around the park yesterday and I was listening to this mom I vaguely knew riding around with her kids .
    she didn’t stop giving them commands the whole way around the park and both her kids are overweight. My child said I wouldn’t be able to handle that if you did that.
    Believe me it’s not easy But I remind myself I couldn’t handle if someone told me what to do every minute(lol)

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