As a family man and a volunteer coach I spend a lot of my free time with kids. One thing I have seen a lot is how easy it is for families to get into habits that are really bad for their health. In many ways you can understand how this happens so quickly with parents having very busy jobs and their parenting takes a lot of energy too. But I have come up with some tips that I want to pass on today.
1) Outdoor Activities
Dependent on the time of year this can be very difficult to achieve. Wet and windy days in winter are just not that inviting to anyone really. But one thing I have always tried to do is make sure that we get out as a family at least once a day, especially at weekends. The trick is to find that small break in the rain to even just get out of the house and go for a 10-minute walk. If you have a dog, then you probably have to do this anyway, but I would suggest that you involve your kids in this as well. The great thing is that even a little bit of activity and fresh air can help kids get a much better and more restful sleep.
2) Play Sports Together
One thing I love seeing as a basketball coach at my local youth sport center is when parents come along to play with their kids. It is a fantastic way to get involved with your kids and they will appreciate every single minute of your time. Even though a lot of the kids I coach come from a disadvantaged area with many of them from broken families, it is incredible to see how many success stories there are when families actually do sports together. I often bring the kids to the sports center and we play everything from basketball to soccer together.
3) Plan And Cook Meals Together
In our world dominated by fast food it can be quite difficult to get everyone at home enthusiastic about dinnertime. But one thing I have always done with my kids is to involve them in the whole planning and cooking process. They will help pick out meals and then join in for the grocery shopping. We then all help to cook the meal together and enjoy it so much more for it. My son enjoys it so much that now at age 9 he is already planning on becoming a chef when he grows up.
4) Snack Healthy
This should be obvious by I still see far too many kids going for candy bars junk food for their snacks. Active kids do need to be able to snack regularly, but this should be done by keeping processed sugar to a minimum. Try introducing fruit like berries and bananas to supplement the diet rather than getting out chocolate and cookies.
5) Plan Activity Vacations
Some of my most favorite vacations involve activities. With our kids a little bit older now our next trip will most likely involve skiing this winter. The more active you can make a vacation the better it will be for your family’s health.