Being quite into keeping fit and eating *semi* healthily, I realised recently that I haven’t actually been very good at encouraging the children to follow in my footsteps. In fact, ask them what their second favourite meal is and they’d most likely say chicken dippers or fish fingers (although a much more socially acceptable spag bol takes number one spot).
I decided it was time to make a change and I’ve been slowly coaxing them to make better, healthier choices when it comes to their food and fitness. Having a similar battle with your kids? Read on to see how I’m aiming to get them off the iPad and out into the fresh air, preferably whilst clutching an apple rather than a bag of crisps…
Recently I read that in order to encourage children to eat a wider variety of foods at mealtimes, it’s suggested to get them more involved in food preparation. I meal plan each week to cut costs and to feel more prepared for the week ahead. I’ve started asking the children what they would like to be eating, and looking for inspiration with them in recipe books and online.
I also try and let them help me to cook. I love meals which involve lots of family participation such as homemade pizzas and fajitas. These dishes can also be adapted to make them healthier – win, win!
Trips to the Park
I am going to admit something I probably shouldn’t. I HATE the park. Can’t stand it. I would happily never go again, but I do, and I’m trying to go more often, because it’s a brilliant way to get the children running around and moving without them even realising they are exercising.
The older two are at an age now where they are quite independent and don’t need a lot of support, and it’s lovely to see them enjoying themselves (once I get over my fear that every other parent in there is judging me in some way or another).
You don’t need to just stick to the swing park either, head to local fields and kick a ball around with them or initiate a game of chase. Anything that keeps them moving is doing something good!
The children love a good cornetto for dessert, but they are also partial to an apple (although some people suggest apples aren’t good for you either nowadays *insert eye roll emoji*). As with adults, everything is fine in moderation and I’m not going to be banning the ice cream cones anytime soon, but I do try and encourage them to go for healthier alternatives when possible. Cameron’s just gotten into watermelon and Carly can demolish a whole punnet of strawberries in one sitting.
For Christmas last year I bought the kids matching fitness trackers (the ones aimed at children and made by like v-tech, I didn’t shell out for mini fit-bits or anything). Although they stayed in a drawer for longer than I care to admit, when the children did finally start using them they were brilliant at getting them off their bottoms and moving around. As with games like Pokemon Go, these watches make walking around more interesting and ultimately prevent boredom from setting in for those with short attention spans.
Finding Sports that Motivate Them
Carly absolutely loves dancing. She will happily bop away to the credits at the end of every film they watch. She has natural rhythm and has been to ballet and modern dance classes in the past.
Meanwhile Cameron is much more reserved and will shy away from most sports that require participation. A few months ago he tried out football at an after school club and it really brought him out of his shell. He’s also started really enjoying swimming now he’s become more confident in the water. It’s all about finding something they enjoy.
Let Nothing Get in Their Way
There’s bound to be a few hurdles along the way. Carly missed a couple of the dance classes and started getting nervous about attending. Ultimately the timing wasn’t really right and they fell by the wayside, but it’s important to keep things regular and try and stop anything from getting in the way.
I came across a brilliant product called Laceeze recently, which a local friend of a friend created. These handy bands fix over football boots (and other sports shoes and trainers) with the aim to prevent the game (or other activity) needing to be stopped by laces coming undone. I’ll definitely be getting them on Cameron once he starts back at football next term!
Do you have any other top tips for keeping the kids active and healthy? I’d love to hear them!
We were kindly given products from Laceeze to try out with no obligation to write about them. I wanted to include them in this post as they are such an excellent concept!