November 9

Tips to Raise Healthy Kids: Part 2

Part 1

As we continue to share tips on how kids can be taught to adopt a healthy lifestyle, let’s see what makes things click with children and parents alike.

1. Encourage sporting efforts

Sports makes a great extracurricular activity for children. An important part of raising kids is to teach them healthy competition and sports is a great place to get started. Sports teaches children to work hard and practice consistently. These traits are hallmarks for success. Moreover, sports gets your child’s heart pumping and provides a great form of exercise in a fun way. Basketball, swimming, tennis and track offer some of the best cardiovascular workouts out of all children’s sports, but anything that gets them up and moving is beneficial.

2. Proper Hydration

Most people, including children, do not drink enough water. The general rule of thumb is 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water a day but may be a couple of glasses less for smaller children. Proper hydration is important for energy and mental function. Raising kids to reach for a glass of water instead of any other beverage is the best way to ensure they are drinking enough water. If you follow parenting tip number 1 above, then choosing water should be an easy choice. Don’t forget to offer more water when your child is playing or expending extra energy.

3. Cut Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks such as soda and sweetened juices are causing more problems for your kids than you probably realize. Excess sugar can negatively impact your child’s health by contributing to obesity, tooth decay and nutritional deficiencies. In addition, it can also cause behavioral problems such as mood swings, lack of focus and bouts of hyperactivity. Since soda has absolutely no nutritional value, it has no place in anyone’s diet – regardless of age. One of the best parenting tips for your child’s nutritional needs is to ban soda from the home and choose natural fruit juices, milk and water.

4. Ride a Bike

Not only does driving a car emit damaging fumes for the environment but it also provides absolutely no physical activity. Riding a bike on the other hand causes absolutely no harm to the environment and packs a great work out at the same time. If your child has a bike, encourage them to ride a bike whenever possible instead of having you drop them off. One of scariest times when raising kids is deciding when your child is old enough to go off on their own so make sure that you feel they are ready before trying this parenting tip. You can also ride your bike along with them until they are ready to ride on their own.

5. Don’t Force Certain Foods

Raising kids to eat right can be incredibly difficult and frustrating. If you have ever watched your child push food around on their plate for 20 minutes, then you may have also found yourself threatening them to finish their food. You may think you are doing the right thing by forcing your child to eat their food but you can actually be doing more harm. If your child refuses to eat the spinach on their plate, then don’t force them. This will only instill their dislike of the vegetable and may cause them to become even pickier. Instead, find another healthy option to replace it. Offer up another vegetable that you know they like and they will still reap the health benefits.

6. Make Your Backyard Kid-Friendly

If you are short on time or have limited exercise resources around you, your own backyard can be the best fitness resource for your entire family. As it was mentioned in an earlier parenting tip, simply running around the yard and playing adds physical activity for your child but there are so many ways to make your backyard more exercise friendly. A swing set, in particular, can offer great exercise for younger children. Pumping their legs on the swing, climbing up and down the slide ladder and swinging across the monkey bars are great cardiovascular movements. Adding in a trampoline, volleyball net or even a swimming pool can offer additional types of exercise from the comfort of your own yard.

7. Healthy Body over Body Shape.

With all the focus that people put on being skinny, it is no wonder that kids are growing up not understanding the true importance of exercise. While it is important to exercise in order to prevent obesity, it is more about building a healthy body and not a skinny one. Talk to your kids about how an active lifestyle can prevent many health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, pulmonary conditions and even certain cancers. Your overall health should be the motivator behind exercise and not vanity. Raising kids to understand this difference will help them to develop a healthy body image as well.

It all boils down to the simple fact – Love your body so you make efforts to keep it healthy and productive rather than unhealthy.


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