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1. Get them moving!
I am certainly guilty of letting my kids watch too much tv, but I do try to balance it by making sure they get enough physical activity. Even some of the younger kids shows ask the kids get up and moving during the show. It’s a great lesson in following directions and it wakes up the kids who tend to zone out when watching tv (ahem Mofo).
Take them to the park or an open gym and let them run! I never understand when parents try to reel their kids in at the park. They are supposed to be active and burning off some energy. As long as they aren’t hurting other kids (or screaming. For hells sake don’t let them scream) let them be kids. Sign them up for a sport or activity once they are old enough. The goal is to create a habit of exercise that’s fun.
2. Exercise with your kids.
Kids have a lot of energy! Help them burn some of it off by going for a walk or a bike ride together. It may sound strange, but play a work out dvd, do a few reps of push ups, or some yoga poses. It really amazed me how much the kids modeled my exercise. If I did yoga, they wanted to do yoga poses with me. They had a giddy ol’ time mimicking plank jacks. They probably won’t have the patience to go through a whole 30 minute workout with you, but they could surprise you! We forget sometimes that we are our kids role models, and they want to be like us. They model our good behavior as well as the bad.
3. Nurture a healthy relationship with food.
This can be a tough one. You don’t want you kid to eat candy nonstop, but you also don’t want to be so uptight you never give them sugar. Every family is different. Some give them all the Halloween candy at once, others ration it (or take it for themselves). As a family, decide what your eating philosophy is. It may be all organic, allergy friendly, or just a well-rounded diet.
We have a lifelong relationship with food. It’s important it be a healthy one. For example, we do our best not to reward our kids with food, they aren’t dogs after all. It’s all about moderation. Eat well for a majority of the time, and you can treat yourself once and awhile.
4. Teach them where food comes from.
Take advantage of kids love for all things tractors, cowboys, and animals by teaching them about agriculture and where our food comes from. For homeschooling families it is a great way to teach nutrition and the food groups. Take a tour of a farm, check out some documentaries, or start your own garden. Even a small herb garden can teach kids a lot about the plant life cycle. It will give them an appreciation for how hard farmers work to get food on our table.
When your kids are emotionally ready, teach them about where meat comes from. My oldest is super excited to go hunting with her dad, but not all kids may be ready. It’s important that kids know an animal gave it’s life so we could eat. We should honor that.
5. Don’t get discouraged.
Whether you are reevaluating your diet or trying to get your kids to eat more vegetables, your kids will rebel. It’s only nature. Just keep at it!! As parents, we tend to beat ourselves up over every little set back. Don’t let it get to you. Your kids won’t remember tomorrow they scoffed at the celery and peanut butter you gave them, you shouldn’t either. Keep the goal of a healthy lifestyle in mind. They will thank you for it in the long run 🙂