In today’s world, it’s easy for kids to stay sedentary and content with whatever lifestyle you can provide them. And given the choice between exercise and healthy eating versus devices and junk food, most of us can predict which one kids favour.
So, when you’re biting the bullet and diving into healthy living, or if you’re simply trying to get kids out of the house and into their health, how do you motivate and entice them to get involved?
Make moving fun
“Do you want to go for a 5km run?” vs “Want to kick a football in the park?”
Some kids might love the idea of just running, but a lot of kids need a fun environment for exercise to hide in. Playing a sport or an outdoor family game is a great way for everyone to get up and moving, and you get to spend quality time with each other – win-win!
Sometimes it can seem like kids have superhuman hearing or a sixth sense for when there’s junk food around in the house, no matter how high you hide it, or how deep you bury it. Once they know it’s there, it’s game on. The same also might be said for your level of temptation. The best way to attack a risk head on is to eliminate it. Get rid of any unhealthy snacks and food in the house, and replace it with fruits, nuts, or other healthy alternatives. There will be some inevitable resistance, but they’ll eat it when they’re hungry enough and will learn to love it.
Set limits on screen time
Small doses of screen time for kids can be a good source of entertainment, education, and even rest for parents. But it can be easy for one hour to turn into four, and next thing you know, the whole day has been spent sedentary in front of a screen. Set reasonable limits for your kids (and yourself) and make sure you’re firm with them. There are plenty of great activities that don’t require screens, and you’ll spend more time as a family unit doing those things.
Healthy doesn’t mean bland
When kids (and even adults) are presented with the idea of healthy food, images of boiled veg and plain proteins flood the senses and the moaning and groaning starts. Fortunately, the internet has opened a world of healthy recipes packed with flavour that you can promise your kids won’t taste like cardboard. Sacrificing calories doesn’t mean sacrificing flavour. Show them what delicious and healthy food can look like. If that doesn’t work, don’t mention the word ‘healthy’ at all and they’ll leap at whatever they’re served.