Getting your family fit and active can be difficult if it’s not a lifestyle you’re used to. But there is good news! By implementing healthier choices slowly, you can change your entire family’s well-being. Try making these 5 changes within your family:
1. Create one new habit at a time
Trying to change every bad habit at once won’t work well. It will be too much of a shock to your family. Try changing one thing at a time. If you want your kids to watch less TV, start cutting back slowly. If you want to replace unhealthy nightly desserts and snacks with better choices, slowly begin to make the change a few times a week and the increase the number of healthy desserts/snacks as time goes on.
2. Make activity non-negotiable
Chances are when you were a kid you were always outside. You went out in the morning and didn’t come home until dinnertime. It didn’t matter if you had one neighborhood friend to play with or ten, you could always find something to do. Kids these days are very different. They prefer to stay inside cuddled up with their game systems, laptops, and phones. It’s important to remember that as the parent, you make the rules. You can usher your children into the backyard without their electronics. You can walk them to the park. They won’t know what to do with themselves in the beginning, but don’t give up. They’ll soon figure it out.
3. Go for family walks
Getting fit as a family means the adults too. Children live what they learn, so get out there with them and be active. Go for nightly walks after dinner. If your family is used to plopping down in front of the TV after dinner, this likely won’t be a welcome change but keep enforcing the new habit and you will all get used to it. Walks are great exercise, especially if your family isn’t used to being active. As time goes, on you might get into more activities to fill your time with.
4. Encourage sports
Physical education class in schools isn’t enough activity for children for the week, so playing a sport is a good idea. Encourage your child to play something that interests him or her. If your child isn’t very athletic, something like cross-country might be a good alternative. This way your child can get in the activity by running, but not necessarily having to play a sport such as hockey or football. It’s important to teach your children that activity is important to their overall well-being.
5. Be an example
This is probably the most important part of becoming an active family. You’ve probably noticed that active parents tend to have active children. It was their lifestyle before children and they continued on after they had children. Even if you have never been active before, you can start now and be the example your child needs to get inspired and motivated. You don’t have to be the best athlete to be a role model for your child; you just need to do it.
Getting fit as a family doesn’t just benefit your children, it benefits you as parents as well. Most people want to make healthier choices in their lives, but never get around to it. Children are the perfect motivation for doing them now rather than putting them off for another day.