How do you raise a physically fit child? It all starts with healthy, active adults. Basically, fit parents raise fit kids. Here are a few tips to get the whole family healthy and active without too much complaint!
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Make Family Fitness a Priority
If my son were an animal he would be a sloth. Honestly, that boy only moves fast when there is food on the table! TV and video games are not allowed during the week so he spends his time reading, doing Lego’s, or some other stationary activity.
Even when he goes outside to play he like to climb a tree and just ‘think’ (as he puts it…). My daughter on the other hand is like a baby bunny…cute and cuddly but hopping in a million different directions. Her nickname at school is ‘Wiggles’.
How I got 2 such different kids I really don’t know! If they didn’t look so much like my husband and I you’d think there had been a mix up at the hospital! I want both of them to be fit kids, which means my husband and I need to make an effort to focus on family fitness on a regular basis.
Fit Grownups Make Fit Kids
I am probably going to offend someone out there but I really don’t think there is any reason for a kid to be overweight. As parents, WE are responsible for our children’s health and it is a job I take very seriously.
Lessons learned in childhood will stick with them for ever. I thought I would put together a few suggestions I have found that will guide our kids into a fit adulthood.
Be a Role Model
There is no way your kids will eat healthy and exercise if you don’t. Not saying you have to lose weight and be supermodel skinny but show them that you can grab an apple for a snack and not just a bag of cookies. I need some serious work on my exercise routine if I am going to be able to keep up with Wiggles the hyper bunny on her runs!
Teach portion control early
Kids want a snack? Of course they do…kids always want a snack! Don’t just hand them a bag of goldfish to eat out of. Put it in a bowl before serving. That way, they learn what a normal portion size looks like. Fit kids need good nutrition to thrive!
Exercise as a family and make it FUN
I just need to take a minute to show off my husband’s marathon photo from Disney last weekend. While my kids aren’t running 26 miles with him, we do go to the track as a family together just for a few laps around the loop. Encourage older kids and teens by bringing along mp3 players and headphones to let them rock out while they work out.
Like this post about inspiring fit kids? Try these exercise tips, too:
- How to Get Kids to Exercise to Improve Childhood Mental Health: How do you get children to exercise and not just turn on the TV? Here are a few tips to get kids moving more often for stress relief.
- Things We Need to Teach Kids about Food :Making healthy food choices is a concept that you need to start introducing when children are young. Here are some tips to get started.
- How to Make Nature Walks with Kids More Educational: Nature walks with kids can be a ton of fun but they can also be educational at the same time.
Let them try new things
My kids have tried soccer, running, yoga, gymnastics, karate, ballet, tennis, and an assortment of ‘get moving and let’s play’ kind of classes. Check your local parks and recreation department for options.
My rule is if you start it, you finish it. If it is a 6 week class you attend all 6 weeks even if you hate the first one. If it is a more formalized activity like ballet you finish out the year. This makes them really think about what kind of activities they are interested in. Who knows, maybe your kid hates basketball but will love martial arts! They will never know until they try. Limiting it to one sport at a time keeps costs lower.
Don’t let them drink their calories
Even 100% juice has a lot of calories. Encourage water whenever possible, especially after exercising. Kids rarely need sports drinks for re hydration! If they don’t learn to like water now, chances are they will choose sodas as an adult.
Limit screen time to inspire fit kids:
Whether it is TV, video games, or email make them turn it off for large portions of the day! Kick them outside periodically and make sure to leave unstructured time for them to just jump on their bike and ride around the neighborhood! Exercise is not always a formal class! Try hiking with kids this weekend and enjoy some family time!
Establish a routine together:
Maybe you want to start exercising as a family but don’t know when? How about an after dinner walk around the neighborhood or a Saturday morning trip to the park with skateboards and bikes? Make time for exercise in your life so your kids can, too!
Children that are overweight are more likely to suffer from asthma and a number of other health related issues. And even kids that are NOT overweight need to learn early that a good diet and moderate amount of exercise is important.
As parents, we do the shopping and make the rules. Make sure you are making choices that will help raise fit and healthy adults! Do you like to exercise with your kids? How do YOU teach them how to live healthy? Check out Psychology Today and learn why childhood fitness is so important.
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.