Did you know that one out of three kids is overweight or obese? 75.2% of kids between ages 3 and 15 do not get 60 minutes of recommended daily exercise. Gone are the days of playing outside all day and coming home ready to drop from all the climbing, running, jumping and so on. The street light is no longer the “come home” symbol as it once was.
I grew up an overweight child, and I have actually been nervous about having kids of my own, thinking of all my issues I might pass on to them. It’s really important to me that my kids are naturally fit. Not on diets, or watching weight, but enjoying life and being healthy.
Here are the 5 best tips I found to have fitter kids:
1. Lead by Example
When people reach out to me about their kids weight issues, the FIRST thing I do is ask about their own habis. No offense, but it’s awfully hard to judge a kid slouching on the couch when you’re watching him or her from the chair next to it, playing on your phone, right? Get up! Teenagers may seem like they’re not interested in what you say and do, but believe us, when you go for a jog or push play, they’re watching…
2. Limit Screen Time
Limit Xbox and PlayStation access, don’t surround all your family bonding around a screen, don’t eat in front of the TV, etc. Create non-texting hours. Once these temptations dry up, the outside world may seem more interesting. I know it will be just as hard for you to do, but it’s better for everyone in the long run!
3. Pick a Sport
Even if your kids don’t fit the standard mold of football and cheerleader that used to be the only options, times have changed! Rock climbing, kayaking, surfing, cycling, Frisbee football, roller derby, dodgeball, rugby, dance, hiking, paddle boarding, rowing, even in home workouts, can be so much fun. Let your son or daughter’s imagination run wild and let them try more than one thing. You’d be surprised what is in your area, even in small towns!
4. Invest in cool toys
You may not be made of money, but your kid’s health is a much better investment than the newest gadget. If you live too far from the ocean to surf, buy a balance board. (Lots of fun and it’s good for your, I mean, their core, too.) Maybe look into fun fitness-based software you can do together in the game console. Outdoor toys are great when the weather cooperates too. Really anything that get’s them MOVING will do!
5. Plan active family outings
This one basically combines everything I’ve already said, and have been hinting at. You can keep it simple, like a picnic instead of a movie. You can go big, like a day at the water park, camping, or more. You can go creative, like a scavenger hunt. If you’re at a loss for ideas and/or you’re on a budget, check out Groupon.com and Livingsocial.com for local, affordable adventures you may not have thought of. I also check out Facebook or just google “Free Events + City” or “Outdoor Events Near Me” etc. I am always shocked at how much there really is going on!
As you can see, there is no secret, it just takes a focus of creating your life around activity versus food, and bonding versus screens. It might not be easy at first, and your kids will probably give you some fuss, but at the end of the day they do want to spend time with you and you only get them in your house for so long. Enjoy it!