Besides using your stroller less for your older kids, here are other easy ways to help keep your kids active:
• Walk the walk. Instead of simply encouraging your kids to, say, go outside and play, be active yourself.
“Children model everything they see their parents do,” says Christine W. Rivard, RD, program director and head of pediatric nutrition at Kidshape (www.kidshape.com), a family-centered, Los Angeles-based program that helps children develop healthier eating and lifestyle habits. “You want to set the tone as early as possible.”
• Curtail couch-and-mouse “potatodum.” Set a limit on TV and computer-game time, and abide by that yourself. What’s reasonable?
“One hour a day,” Rivard says.
• Make weekends family friendly. Every weekend, make a commitment to do something active with your kids, such as going hiking, to the park or the zoo, playing ball in the yard, or even just turning on music and dancing in the living room. Every little bit counts.
“Parents need to just realize that five to 10 minutes of activity here and there really makes a difference to prevent weight gain in kids in the first place,” says Hill. (That includes walking in the mall for short stints, too.)
The best family-friendly activities include those that kids can also enjoy by themselves, such as walking, hiking, cycling, and roller blading.
“Non-team-related activities teach kids how to exercise on their own,” says Frances M. Berg, author of “Underage and Overweight.” In other words, your kids may not always play soccer. But, if you play your cards right, they’ll walk, hike, cycle, or roller blade for the rest of their lives.
©2011 Community News Group