While it’s common knowledge that kids love to be active with their bodies, healthy habits do not come naturally to the little ones. As parents, we need to guide them toward wholesome and healthy habits so that they can live long, happy lives. Getting them into good habits from a young age is all about finding a way to make it fun, by incorporating it into their play.
Often, children associate being healthy with boring food and strenuous exercise. They may be put off by the lack of energy due to the demands put on them at school and by their peers, and may feel less athletically skilled then some of their friends. The reasons vary, but when children resist healthy patterns this can be a challenge for parents. The key is to set a positive example, from a early age, which will go a long way towards building healthy attitudes as they grow up.
- Just 1 out of 3 children is physically active within a given 24 hour period. In correlation, at least 33% of US children are overweight or obese.
- Obese children carry a 70% likelihood of remaining obese throughout their lives.
- Less than half of them engage in games, sports, or activities which could be deemed exercise.
- Teens and pretends spend an average of 7 hours per day using electronic devices.
Now that you have an idea of how serious the situation is, here are some tips and tricks to seamlessly incorporate fitness into your children’s daily routines and lifestyle.
- Be a positive role model. Studies show that children are more likely to have an active lifestyle if their parents do. This is especially true if you take part in activities together, and if they see you enjoying yourself.
- Make it fun. Being active doesn’t necessarily need to be a chore. If you encourage your kids to participate in sports or activities they enjoy, they are more likely to stick to them. Become a cheerleader, and reward them for their small achievements. Not only does this forter a healthy attitude towards exercising, it also helps you bond as a family.
- Go Shopping. Get your children’s buy-in by getting them to fill a cart with active toys, gear and even funny workout shirts of their choice. They will enjoy being involved from the process and will be excited to get home, dress up and try new things. A range of skipping ropes, bats and balls readily available is a great way to keep your regularly kids active.
- Turn off the devices. Set a time each day for winding down from all activities, and including devices. Some children can become overstimulated from the combination of exercise and bright screens, which can interfere with their sleeping patterns, and rest is vital to their healthy development.
- Provide healthy fuel. While exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, diet is just as important (if not more so). Balance is key here; pick one cheat day a week for treats and junk food, and keep your pantry stocked with nutritious snacks and fresh foods for the rest of the week.