Helping our children create great habits is one of the most important things we can do as parents and caregivers. A daily routine incorporating exercise and nutritious food is a great way to offset the amount of screen time kids now experience by doing their schoolwork on laptops and iPads, streaming TV and games and communicating with friends after school via social media and text message.
We know you want what’s best for your kids so here are some ideas for establishing good habits at home.
- Help them move. Children have a natural inclination to move so we should give them plenty of space and time to walk, run, climb, stretch and jump throughout the day. For small children, outdoor time in parks or at home provide a wonderful opportunity to move and reconnect with nature. As kids get older, participating in structured sporting events increases confidence and helps them develop strong peer relationships.
- Help them eat well. We can help kids make good food choices by encouraging the following:
- Learning how to read food labels and understand what ingredients are in our pre-packaged food;
- Suggesting wholefood alternatives to packaged snacks where you can or looking for healthier pre-packaged options (think products generally low in sugar with a short list of ingredients);
- Getting to know the Australian Dietary Guidelines and what portions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats go into creating a balanced meal;
- Coming up with smart cooking or shopping hacks to make eating nutritious meals easy and attainable despite our busy schedules; and
- Do it as a family. Participating in activities and creating nutritious meals and snacks as a family establishes these behaviours as a way of life which the whole family can be involved in. Plan your meals, sign up for a running event or get moving in the great outdoors together and make this lifestyle a family affair.
It’s never too early to start showing children how to be healthy and active. Help your kids establish great habits now and they’ll be set for life.