With smart phones, TV, video games and social media everywhere we turn, it's more important than ever we teach our children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle. In addition to warding off obesity and providing the physical fitness to stay active, kids that understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle are less likely to smoke or participate in other dangerous behaviors. It's not possible to dictate every activity our kids participate in, but you can absolutely influence how your children voluntarily choose to spend their time.
Here are six tips to keep your kids healthy and fit without sacrificing FUN!
- Keep them busy outdoors - In the summer, a sprinkler can provide hours of entertainment for young kids. If you enjoy gardening, involve your children and allow them to care for their own plants. (BONUS: Having kids grow their own vegetables is a great way to get them to try and eat new veggies.)
- Go on family bike rides or walks - Biking s a great bonding activity for the whole family, as well as great exercise! Have a destination in mind, such as a yogurt shop or the local park to make the experience that much more fun for the kids.
- Have designated computer/TV time - By having a designated allowance for time spent on the computer or TV, you're teaching your children to find other ways to have fun without depriving them of personal downtime.
- Get involved! - Don't tell your kids to go play outside and then plop yourself down on the couch to watch TV. Instead, go join them outside - read a book, water the plants or simply take a walk and enjoy the weather!
- Encourage participation in sports - Kids of every age can enjoy sports, whether it's going to soccer practice or shooting some hoops in the driveway. Participating in sports doesn't always have to cost a lot of money-check out your local Y or start your own informal neighborhood team.
- Share a meal - Sharing dinner together at least four times per week gives you the chance to connect and stay up to date with your family, free of distractions. Sharing a meal offers tremendous developmental benefits for children, with studies showing that it has an impact on self-esteem, security, personal identity, values and motivation. Having set days for meals helps as well, providing kids a foundation and sense of security since they know you will always be available to them during that time.
Raising confident, healthy children is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs of our lives. If you're ready to learn easier, more effective parenting skills, sign up for one of our Active Parenting Online Courses!