When you’re active all day long, it isn’t always easy to come home and be active with your kids. Sometimes, you just want to put your feet up and relax.
It takes real commitment — not to mention energy — to do the right thing.
But if your kids are having trouble with their weight, it’s one of the most important things you can do. And the best way to do it is by being a good role model.
If you’re going to inspire your child to turn off the TV and get active, you have to be right there along with them. Here are some tips on how to do it while making it fun for both you and your child.
Focus on activity, not exercise. The idea of exercise tends to make kids think of gym class — and for a child struggling with a weight problem, that’s not always fun. Focus on fun, active activities you can do together. Ride bikes. Go to a museum. Even a walk around the shopping mall is healthy, and will burn calories.
Make it a game. A little competition can really get kids engaged. Play tag or hide-and-seek. Play one-on-one or HORSE. Throw some pass patterns with the football. Encourage your kids to make up their own games.
Set limits on screen time. That doesn’t mean denying your child TV and video games entirely. But it does mean not allowing them to engage in any of these activities for an unreasonable amount of time each day. Set reasonable limits and stick to them.
Practice praise. Praise is a powerful tool in helping your child change their behavior. Offer it often. Focus more on your child’s efforts rather than on outcomes. “You’re doing an awesome job walking with me after dinner” is preferable to “Look – you lost two pounds!”
Be patient and consistent. Expect some resistance from your child. It’s likely he or she will be unhappy with some of the changes you’re trying to incorporate. Refuse to engage in arguments, and be consistent with boundaries and limits.
Finally, use this time with your kids to find out how they’re feeling. And always remember to let them know how much you enjoy spending time with them.