With childhood obesity on the rise, we as parents have a huge responsibility in keeping our children fit and healthy. Instilling good habits from a young age — raising “Fit Kids” through an “Active Family Unit” will have a huge impact on them for the rest of their life, and may even influence their outlook and the decisions they make.
The Active Family Unit:
I believe that children are a direct example of their parents, and are extremely influenced in the guidelines we set out for them and the standards we make. At the end of the day, we’re the boss and the example they will follow.
I have to give it to my parents, as they set out a terrific example for us 6 kids. I have very fond memories of our weekly trips to the forest building our very own hideout! We had a small teepee style house with a table and bench…even a toilet if I’m not mistaken! Proper “Bear Grylls” survival training! After working on collecting wood to repair or build something new we’d all sit around a fire roasting hot-dogs. Yum, and so much fun! When we weren’t building in the forest we were swimming in the sea or at the lake, hiking into the woods to collect bucket-loads of juicy berries, or on a mission to find the waterfall with the tasty water where we would be allowed to drink straight from the stream! I will never forget the time we climbed this crazy high mountain when living in Nepal, I was just 5 years old. That was one very active adventure…never to be forgotten!
Here are a few ways to encourage an Active Family Unit:
- Be the example by being physically active yourself. Watching mommy and daddy exercise will make them aware of what it’s all about.
- Take a walk after dinner.
- Aim to have an active family outing once or twice a week. The weekend is great for this as all are present. It could be a trip to the park, a jog, or peaceful walk in the woods.
- Enjoy a picnic in the park with another family followed by a soccer match.
- Encourage a sense of adventure – climb a mountain together as a family, or go on a long hike through a nature reserve.
- Count your steps – pedometers are cheap and easy to pick up. Have one for each of the family members and keep a record of the total number of steps taken in a week, rewarding the person with the most steps.
The Importance of kids being Active:
- Allows the bones to develop
- Builds confidence
- Better sleep
- Healthy weight control
- Builds a strong healthy heart
Daily Way’s to get Kids Active:
For some reason children have a way of being active at all the wrong times, usually right before bed, or when mommy and daddy need to do something really important!! They love picking their timings with things, don’t they! Being physically active requires a lifestyle approach. Making small changes in a daily routine. Here are a few changes that I find make a big difference:
- Get rid of that buggy– Encourage your child to be active from as soon as they can walk by avoiding the buggy as much as possible. You’d be surprised at how much they love to walk…making them feel like grown-ups! You’ll not only be doing yourself a favor by tiring them out but also giving them a good active start at such a young age.
- Say no to TV or at least minimize the times spent on it.
- Walk to school whenever possible or at least a few times a week.
- House chores – lately I’ve gotten my 3 1/2-year-old doing the morning chores with me instead of putting her in front of the TV so that I can do the chores alone. She loves emptying the dishwasher (of course I take care of the delicate/dangerous items).
Are you an Active Family Unit? If so, what tip’s and tricks do you use to stay fit and healthy? We’d love to hear your comments below.