Guest Post – Nancy Parker, Ways to Focus on Being Healthy, Not Losing Weight, With Your Kids

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waistChildhood obesity is a rising issue, and one that needs to be met head on. The problem that people are running into, however, is that there is a fine line between encouraging kids to be healthy and furthering unhealthy habits by forcing them to work out at the gym or putting them on strict diets. Instead of focusing on weight loss with kids, we need to focus on being healthy. These ten tips will help you reinforce a healthy lifestyle:

1. Make exercise a part of playtime. Instead of telling your kids that they have to work out, make exercise a built-in part of playtime. Limit the amount of time they’re allowed to watch TV, surf the internet, or play video games, and encourage them to get outside and play. Buy toys that promote activity, like jump ropes, pogo sticks, and balls to play catch.

Have the kids cook with you.

2. Have the kids cook with you. Don’t just call the kids to the table when it’s time to eat dinner; instead have them cook dinner with you. This is a great opportunity to teach them how to cook healthily and talk to them about the importance of eating nutritious foods.

3. Make it a family affair. Every evening go for a family bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood. Visit the neighborhood pool on the weekends. Take active vacations together and go camping or hiking. Make being active a part of everyday life.

4. Serve up healthy snacks. Instead of serving up chips or cookies when your kids beg for an afternoon snack, keep sliced apples, baby carrots, and reduced fat cheese sticks on hand for hungry kids to munch on.

5. Ditch the soda and sugary drinks. As much as your kids may love sugary drinks, try to keep them out of the house and limit how many your kids consume. Instead buy sugar-free flavored drink packets that they can mix into water or let them drink low-fat milk.

6. Model the behavior you want your kids to imitate. The best way to show your kids how to live a healthy life is to live one yourself. Make being healthy normal.

Limit unhealthy foods in the house.

7. Limit unhealthy foods in the house. Try to keep junk food to a minimum in the house, and teach your kids that desserts or unhealthy treats are just that – treats to eat on occasion, not to eat regularly.

8. Pack lunches every day. Instead of giving kids lunch money to buy school lunches, pack them healthy lunches to take to school. This way you’re able to control the portion sizes and the types of food they’re eating.

9. Let kids pick a sport to play. Have your kids each pick out a sport that they want to play. Let them do the choosing as to which sport, but make sure they choose at least one. By letting thempick the sport they’ll be much more engaged and invested in participating in it.

10. Talk to them about the importance of being healthy and active. Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids openly about the importance of eating well and staying active. Avoid lecturing them on it, but do talk about it regularly.

When it comes to kids, the focus should never be on losing weight, but instead on being healthy. By making “healthy” a normal part of their lives instead of trying to force them to exercise or lose weight it’s much more likely to become a lasting habit.

Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny, etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com