LET’S EMPOWER THE FUTURE: ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS TO BE HAPPY, HEALTHY AND ACTIVE.
Hands up who remembers “Healthy Harold” as a kid at school?
It was literally one of my most fond memories of school going and seeing Healthy Harold, talking about foods, exercise and learning about our bodies with this amazingly fun lady who I just thought had the coolest job in the world because she got to hang out with Harold the giraffe all day.
Now that I am an adult and in my role as a mother but also a fitness professional I can see the absolute importance of what Life Educations programs actually mean.
Life Educations Mission is:
“To empower children and young people to make safer and healthier choices through education.”
What could be more important than that?
As a nation and a generation our kids are more obese and more sedentary than any others in the world, ever. Now to me that scares the absolute life out of me. Knowing what obesity can do not only physically but mentally for our children and then in to adulthood is scary and something that we MUST change. As parents I also believe we have the responsibility to be the best role models and ensure our children are eating healthy and nutritious foods and engaging in both organized sports and incidental exercise through play and every day activities.
Tonight I have teamed up with Life Education to share with you my tips on how to encourage your kids to be healthy and active.
1. SET THE EXAMPLE
This one is pretty simple but probably the most powerful, like the saying goes “Monkey see, monkey do” – ensuring you are setting the best example by engaging in physical activity, eating a balanced diet, snacking on an apple like you want them to and making healthy choices in front of your kids.
Something that I love in the mornings is now when we hop in the car to head to the gym Millie says “Mummy go to gym, my go to her gym.” It’s like she is aware that this is a part of our everyday or when I am working out at home she always loves to copy me.
2. HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES IN THE HOME
Trust me, I get it. Some days it extremely frustrating trying to get your kids to eat ANYTHING let alone worrying about the nutritional content BUT I do believe that we must always encourage the most nutritious meals and snacks at home. Fill your fridge with fruits and veggies and make those easily accessible to your kids, if there are only these options available that’s all they can choose from.
Don’t label foods as “good” or “bad” but encourage them to always try the wholegrains, the fruit and vegetables, the lean meats and low fat dairy options. Teach them why they need these types of foods and the benefits of them but never dwell or punish them for eating “badly” as that too can have a negative impact.
Encourage your kids to eat until they are satisfied but don’t force them to eat everything on their plate. Make food or meal time a fun time not a chore or a fight as that will have a negative impact on their relationship with food.
If you need to just make small healthy swaps gradually like instead of potato chips try plain popcorn or instead of deep fried chips try cutting up and baking your own potatoes.
3. ENAGING IN OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
Gone are the days of kids playing cricket in the middle of the street until it’s so dark they can no longer see the ball or climbing trees and refusing to come down to their parents calls (ok maybe that was just me?).
With so many screens and devices readily available to us all it is easy to forget to get outside and involve ourselves in incidental or family activity.
Some ideas for incidental activity:
Bike riding as a family
Kicking a football around the park
Bushwalking/hiking local national parks
Playing on the beach
Family trip to the local swimming pool or beach
Visiting the local zoo or wildlife park
Playing at the local playground
Walking to the local shops instead of driving
Cricket or Frisbee in the park
Walking the dog or playing with the dog in the park
Walking around the markets on the weekends
4. ENGAGNG IN PLANNED SPORTS
Enrolling and signing your kids up to a sport or activity from a young age can be a great way to encourage their healthy habits and for them to commit to keeping active. Make sure what they do they enjoy though so that it’s not a chore but an enjoyment.
5. HAVE FUN
Make healthy living, activity and exercise FUN! Dance around the lounge room with your kids, have running races, go burn off their energy in the park, play in the pool with them, be involved in the games and activity and just purely HAVE FUN! Same when it comes to healthy nutrition make it fun, let them help you cook or prepare their healthy meals, choose colourful fruits and veggies, let them pick the fruit and veg at the store - the more they engage in the healthy choices the more ownership they will feel and the more they will want it to continue.
6. SPEAK POSITIVELY ABOUT YOUR BODY AND YOUR CHILDREN'S BODIES
Did you know that girls as young as 4 are reported to have body confidence issues?
To me, that is not okay and tells me we MUST make a change to the way we speak about and love our bodies.
Start with yourself and ensure you don’t speak negatively about your appearance in front of them. Something I like to do with Millie is tell her all the things I love about my body and then tell her all about the things I love about hers in the hope in the future she will start to tell me herself. Things like “I love my eyes because they let me see you” or “I love my legs because they let me play with you” or “I love my belly because I get to eat yummy food and it grew you inside it.”
We also talk about all the things I love about myself and her that have nothing to do with appearance because I don’t want her to believe her worth is based on that. I like to ensure I am also careful with my words when describing her body. I know it sounds extreme but I don’t like to use certain words that imply a label on her when talking about anything to do with her appearance. Children are magnets and super impressionable at such a young age.
These are my top 6 ways to encourage our kids to be healthier and active. I would love to hear yours.
If you like me LOVE what the Life Education program is all about and would like to have your say in how the program is developed there is a survey you can complete.
Life Education has partnered with a National Partner, Hyundai Help for Kids and are giving away an all-new Hyundai i30! For your chance to drive away in a brand new car, simply fill out the short two minute parent survey.
Your feedback is important to SUPER important to continue to develop new and vital health education programs for Australian school children and their communities PLUS who doesn’t want to win a new car?!
This blog was written in colaboration with "Life Education."
You can find out more about their program HERE.