Living a healthy lifestyle has always been important to me. As a parent, I also think it is my responsibility to help my children learn to live a healthy lifestyle. I believe that a big part of being healthy and fit is to be active every day. It is right up there with brushing teeth and doing homework. It is a top priority!
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are three times as many kids overweight than there were in the 1980’s. Weight problems in childhood can lead to diabetes, cholesterol, and heart problems. One way we can help change this statistic is by becoming more active. In this day and age, keeping our kids active can be a challenge. We as parents, definitely have our work cut out for us.
It seems like “screen time” as we call it around our house, is constantly pulling at our kid’s time and attention. Whether it is the TV, computer, phone, or X-Box. When my children have been participating for an extended period in “screen time,” I will ask them to find something else to do. Many times, however, I find them moving on to the next “screen” option. To help with this dilemma, I have found that making a list of activities has been helpful. I keep this list handy so they can refer to it when it is time to get off the “screen” and be active!
This is a list that each child has come up with on their own. The only criteria for the list – it must involve moving their bodies. Encourage your children to be active every day for at least one hour. I have found a minimum of one hour is very do-able. Find activities that each of them enjoys doing. It is my belief that if a child can find activities they enjoy, they are much more likely to continue to be active as they grow older.
For some of my kids, organized sports has been a great way to stay active. For others, it has been more individual activities such as hiking, running, skiing, or lifting weights. There is something for everyone! It just may take some time, patience, and persistence to find out what those activities are.
Another tip is to make it part of your family’s daily routine to be active! For example, walking to school or anywhere for that matter. To friends’ houses, dance classes, and sports practices. Walking is a great way to get warmed-up for these various activities. Taking the stairs and parking farther away are ways to incorporate activities into our daily routine.
Lastly, it is important for us as adults to be active ourselves. Set the example. Make sure your kids know that being active is as important to you and for you as it should be for them. Remember actions, a lot of times, speak louder than words.