There was a time when children were nothing more than skinny limbs scampering around their parents. They used to be the healthiest and physically a most active part of our society. Sadly, today’s children, like their parents, are overweight, slower and busy with a phone or a tablet in their hands. This weight gain has been a matter of great danger because this increase in body weight is accompanied by a host of illnesses like obesity, diabetes, breathing as well as cardiovascular dysfunctions.
It is time that as a parent, you take charge of your child’s life and help her evolve into a healthy and active adult.
Here are the culprits and an action plan for a busy parent:
- Do away with the Screen
A recent study has revealed that watching television is the second activity that takes up most of a child’s time. The first being sleeping ! Although, some kids watch television for even longer periods, the situation is quite alarming.
What you can do: Limit the time for watching television to 7 hours a week and see the difference yourself. This way, your kids will have more time in hand to do other activities, which can possibly be physical ones.
- Replace the boring physical activities
You must understand that children are different from adults. They have not yet evolved a mature sense of self restraint and therefore, do only what makes them happy. Delay of gratification is a word that does not exist in their dictionaries and thus, lecturing about possible long term benefits can be fruitless. So, if you push them to jog around the park with you or to play sports they are not good at, they will start resisting all kinds of physical activities.
What you can do: instead of engaging your children in a long, physically enduring activity, think of games where only short spurts of activities are required. A game of ‘It’ or ‘tag’, for example, are perfect examples of physical activities which are both enjoyable and beneficial for children.
- Take a look at your own lifestyle
Children learn from their parents and if you enjoy lying on a couch munching chips, don’t expect your children to become Olympic athletes. In fact, they will be more prone to inculcate a sedentary lifestyle and make poor eating choice. This news may be difficult to hear, but if you want your kids to have a healthy weight, you must be ready to lead by example.
What you can do: Create an active lifestyle and include your children in it. You can create an obstacle course in the backyard or devise a scavenger hunt in the weekend. As a family, you can play many games like badminton, soccer or take a dance lesson. There are countless ways to incorporate physical activities in your daily activities which do not put a pressure on your busy schedule.
The main idea behind such an active lifestyle is that you don’t have to devise a special exercise routine to help your kids stay in shape. All you have to do is get creative and find new and fresh ideas to include more and more physical activities in your day to day chores. Being a good role model will not just help your kids get on track, but motivate you to lead a healthy life as well. What are your favourite ways to keep your kids active?