“If physical activity and healthy eating are part of a parent’s life, that’s what they’re going to do too. Of course, it seems so simple but you have to make a conscious effort,” says Angie Kolen, a member of the faculty at St. Francis Xavier University, where she conducts research on the role of parents in developing children’s healthy habits.
The following are tips on how to raise healthy kids.
1) Involve kids in meal prep.
Kids learn by doing and seeing so it is advantageous to involve them in healthy meal preparation. Research also shows that eating together as a family encourages healthy eating habits. Children often reject the food, not out of true dislike, but because of unfamiliarity.
It is thus suggested that parents should offer the same food many times in their meal preparation. Studies show that kids often need to be exposed to food as many as 15 times before they start to like it.
2) Avoid “helicopter parenting”.
Based on a study in Preventive Medicine, it shows that parents that are overly involved in their children’s lives when it comes to timetables and extra-curricular activities could be contributing to unhealthy behaviours.
This is because children need to view physical exercise, being outside and playing with friends as an unstructured activity. This will avoid associating a healthy lifestyle with “You have to” and rather associating it with “I want to”.
3) Play active games
Don’t be fooled into thinking that your child is getting the recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day from doing school sports. Of course, it contributes, but research shows that a significant part of the practice is spent on instructions and strategy. “
An hour of sports practice might translate into a half-hour of actual exercise, so we need to make sure they’re getting activity elsewhere,” says Kolen. Sixty minutes may seem like a lot, but this can be achieved in short bursts throughout the day.
Here are some examples of active games you can play with your child:
- Blow bubbles so your child can chase them.
- Use a ball and play catch with them.
- Go for walks together.
4) Limit screen time.
As we have mentioned before, kids learn by seeing and doing. If you spend hours at a time on your cellphone or behind your computer, you are encouraging your child to do the same. Pay attention to how much time you and your child spend on screen time and then make a concerted effort to limit it by putting rules in place.
For example, you could instate a rule that between 6 pm and 9 pm, no one is allowed to have screen time, and mark that out for family time instead.
5) Be a good example.
Parents play a vital role in their children’s behaviours and choices because children tend to mirror their parent’s actions. According to the Framingham Children’s study, children between the ages of 4 to 7, who have active mothers, are twice as active as children who have inactive mothers.
The study also found that children who have an active mother and father are six times more likely to be active than children of sedentary parents.
6) Spend time with your kids.
It is so important to have time to spend with your kids, to be able to listen to them and to be fully present and active in their lives. In today’s very demanding world, where there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day, BODYTEC’s 20-minute per week session allows you to have more time to spend with your kids whilst still getting the exercise that you need.
Start training today with the help of an expert EMS trainer at BODYTEC.