How I’m teaching my children to embrace a healthy lifestyle

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang

As a toddler I wasn’t overweight, but it was mid way through primary school that my weight increased. I was teased a lot, I was short, freckly and fat.  However, looking back at my school photos I wasn’t ‘fat’ I was a little chubby which most kids outgrow as they get older, but sadly I didn’t.  Looking back I didn’t have the most active lifestyle when I was younger.  I was an inside child, I sat in my bedroom most afternoons writing letters to my friends and I also played the organ, which I had to sit and practice for one hour each day.  When I graduated grade 12 I was a size 14. My weight ballooned again after I got married, then more after I had my kids and finally after losing my mum.

I don’t want my kids to follow in my footsteps of being unhealthy (which I am now on a mission to improve my health and increase my activity).  I do believe I can teach my kids how to embrace an active and healthy lifestyle, they will form good habits and help them develop the skill to live a healthy life.  Some of they key factors are:

Participate in an active sport

My kids all started karate in their first year of school.  At the time it was to help them learn self defence and help boost their confidence and self-esteem.  But I am grateful there has been so many more benefits.  Not only that it has helped them to improve their coordination and balance, build strong muscle tone (my son has low muscle tone), become very flexible, maintain a healthy weight, it really improved my sons posture, teaches them to respect themselves and others,  and most of all encourages them to have fun and make wonderful friendships.

 Encourage active play

  • playing in the backyard
  • riding a bike or scooter
  • running races
  • swimming
  • jumping on the trampoline
  • a game of soccer or basketball

Limit TV time

We limit the amount of time the kids watch TV, it is rarely on during sunlight hours. After the kids have completed their homework I like them to go outside, run around and have some fun.  On the weekends we have set a parental control onto the Xbox that they can only play it for 1 hour, after 1 hour it turns off.

Be an active role model

Up until recently I wasn’t exercising enough, but over the past few months I have regularly been walking and visiting the gym.  On the weekends the kids have joined me on my walks, either scootering, riding or walking with me.  It’s also a great opportunity to spend time together.

Teach my children healthy eating habits

Now that my children are older we can talk more about why I say no to them eating certain foods and eating bad foods in moderation, to give them a better understanding about food and nutrition.

  • having healthy snacks always available
  • always have a water bottle on hand
  • never reward the kids with food
  • eating meals together as a family, this has been a priority of ours since the kids could sit up in a high chair.  Eating dinner is not a race, we eat slowly and take the opportunity to chat about our day.
  • get the kids to help with weekly meal planning.  Give the kids an opportunity to choose and help you prepare a meal, being involved in the process can help them learn further about food and more than likely they will eat what they help you prepare.

How Communities & Institutions can help

The school that my kids attend is focussing really well on teaching the following, I hope that most schools follow the same practices:

  • ensure the schools practice a healthy eating policy via the canteen and fundraising activities
  • that schools have a good balance of activity in the curriculum
  • encourage children at school to learn how to grow fresh fruit and vegetables
  • teaching children good food choices.  My kids had an assessment recently on how to make a healthy sandwich.
  • promote water consumption and discourage sugary drinks
  • the younger kids get a fruit break
  • and lastly they recently ran a fun program to encourage kids to walk/ride to school rather than travelling via the car.

 How can we teach our children and local community to improve our health, nutrition and become more active? 

I’d love to hear your thought, please leave a comment below:

Queensland is currently running a survey, were QLDers can have a say and share our views to shape the 30-year vision for Queensland.  A unique way for you to help directly shape the future of Queensland.  They asked me my opinion on “How do we empower and educate individuals, communities and institutions to embrace responsibility for an active and healthy lifestyle?”

This blog topic was commissioned by the Queensland Government to raise awareness of The Queensland Plan. Content and ideas are entirely the author’s own

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