Having a child who is overweight or headed in that direction can be terrifying for a parent. We tend to think that if we limit what our kids eat as far a sugars, salts and fast food goes that we are doing our very best to help them, unfortunately this is not enough. Kids today have access to so much media and forms of entertainment that do not require them to do anything physical at all. Keep cutting out the junk food but also be sure to focus on getting your children to get up and go! Here are some tips to help you get your whole family settled into well rounded healthy lifestyle.
Lead By Example
No, that doesn’t mean you need to drag your child to the gym. Instead, plan fun days at the park. Exercise doesn’t have to be sit-ups and running laps. Instead, take the kite out and fly it in a large open area. Organize a game of kickball, kids versus the adults. Invite their friends along to make it even more fun. Challenge them to races from the jungle gym to the big tree and celebrate the effort, not just the winners. It’s also fun to have everyone take their bikes out for a ride together. Kids love to do just about everything, if their parents are doing it with them.
While not every child is up for a rousing game of soccer or an intense hour of ballet, anyone can go on a nature hike, collecting leaves, taking pictures and enjoying the scenes of nature. If your child prefers artistic pursuits, have them bring along their sketch pad and a pencil to capture a scene. These are great to show progress through the years and to frame and hang in their rooms. Check out more great ideas for nature projects.
Getting exercise is not all about sports and dance. It’s about moving around and staying busy. Take the kids bowling or skating one afternoon and watch them re-discover how fun movement can be. (Just keep them away from the arcade area.) For rewards or presents, offer fun activity-related play dates like an afternoon at the batting cages or a trip to the climbing wall. By setting activity up as fun, you’re encouraging a lifetime exercise and good mental health.
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Play a Video Game
But only the active ones, that require you to get up off of the couch! Making these games a family event not only keeps your kids from zoning out all night in hopes of beating the next level of Mario, but it creates a little family competition in an active way.
An evening walk with your child is a great way to bond after a busy day. It doesn’t have to be filled with chatter, but it’s a chance to be together. It’s also a cooler part of the day, making it more enjoyable for everyone. A calming exercise such as yoga before bedtime is also a great way to make sure you both enjoy a good night’s sleep. These yoga exercises for kids are a good place to start.