Parenting Tips for Raising Healthy, Active Kids

Getting my daughters up and active isn't always easy. They like to sit down and the couch and relax to their favorite shows. They aren't alone. My husband and I enjoy the occasional sitcom, movie, and reality television show, too. How can we encourage them to stay active and be healthy when those words aren't always synonymous with our own lifestyle? As we've redefined our parenting practices in order to raise healthy, active, and confident kids, our entire family has reaped the benefits.

Turn off tech.

Whether you keep the technology in your household turned off for one specific hour, day, week, or month of the year, make it a point to place an emphasis on more than television, smartphones, and video games.

Go for an evening walk.

My daughters love our family walks after dinner. We don't do it every night, but when the sun is just starting to set and the kids still need to work off some energy before bed, an after-dinner walk is just what we need.

Keep a sports storage chest or cabinet.

Whiffle balls and bats, a soccer or kickball, mini-golf clubs, and a basketball and net have a place in everyone's yard. Keep a designated storage chest, cabinet, or shelf in the garage for sporting equipment, and don't let it grow dust. You don't need to be a college-level or professional athlete to have a little fun in the yard or at the park. Teach your children how to get outside and get active by playing sports for fun.

Teach your kids to ride bikes and scooters.

My daughters have become much more interested in going outside now that we've taught them to ride their bikes without training wheels. I'm not sure if they love the wind in their hair as the bike the hill outside our house or the idea of racing one another, but whatever it is, I'm embracing it!

Be a model for healthy eating habits.

Staying active is only half of the battle in today's world. Model, support, and encourage healthy eating habits where children learn to eat a variety of foods and in moderation.

Insist upon help around the house.

As a bit of a control freak, it has been difficult for me to give up some of the household chores to my daughters who may not do them quite to my satisfaction. However, helping around the house keeps us all healthy and active and gives them a sense of ownership and pride in our home. It also teaches them necessary household skills and how to be a part of a community.

Go places.

Are you going to a nearby playground, a theme park during summer vacation, or a local petting farm? By getting out and about on a regular basis you are showing kids that there's so much more to life than zoning out in front of the boob tube. It doesn't matter where you go-just go!

Make small, positive changes.

It sounds simple, but parking as far away as we can from the entrance to the mall has made a big difference in our activity levels. Taking the dog for a walk around two blocks, instead of one, adds up to a lot of extra blocks in a month. Increasing your activity level, even slowly, can encourage your children to live healthier and more active lifestyles in the long run.

Content by Kelly Herdrich .
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