Promoting a Healthier Lifestyle for Today’s Children
Educating students and their families about increasing outdoor play:
Unfortunately, sometimes parents of struggling children are unaware of the issues. As a result, it may fall on educators to teach students and their families about the importance of regular exercise and play outdoors. Here are some tips and tricks to pass on to local families looking to spend more time in the fresh air on the playground.
Limit electronic distractions
One of the biggest electronic distractions in any household is the television, but it’s hardly the only one. Studies have shown that kids are increasingly devoting more hours to passive activities like watching TV, playing video games and surfing the internet. While parents shouldn’t feel compelled to eliminate these electronic devices from their homes, setting limits on use can be a good way to get kids off the couch and outdoors. Setting a daily or weekly limit on how long kids can play video games or watch TV will leave them with little choice but to head outdoors for entertainment.
Sign up for sports
Even if a child isn’t going to be a world-class athlete one day, there’s a lot to be gained from participating in organized sports. Beyond the obvious – physical activity – these extracurriculars teach children about the fundamentals of teamwork, fair play, hard work and making friends. That’s not to mention the valuable lesson on how to be gracious winners and good losers. Additionally, going to team practices and games regularly will help encourage children to spend more time outdoors. Pushing parents to take active roles as team supporters or coaches can also reinforce this as a family activity.
Plan playdates with friends
One great way for parents to get the whole family out of the house is by arranging to meet up with friends at a local park or playground. While the adults catch up, kids can enjoy swing sets, seesaws, slides, tire swings and more. That’s in addition to playing group games like wiffle ball or tossing a frisbee on a flat patch of grass. Parents can plan these group events after school during the week or on weekends.
Regular family dinners could help children with obesity:
Between the prevalence of electronic devies in modern culture and the array of greasy, fattyfast food options available, it’s no wonder that America’s youth are becoming increasingly obese. Children are spending more time doing sedentary activities and less time outdoors playing games or using playground equipment. That’s not to mention the gradual shift away from healthy meals in favor of quick and easy snacks and dinners.
While emphasizing more physical activity through school recess and extracurricular sports is certainly important for combating obesity in children, it’s also important to stress healthy nutritional practices. As a result, school educators and community officials may want to push for more sit-down dinners among students’ families. These regular meals can actually have a major impact on teaching children healthy dietary habits while also reinforcing familial bonds. Here are some things to keep in mind about how family dinners can help counter obesity among young people.
Home-cooking is often healther
Cooking meals at home can be a more nutiritionaly sound option for children than eating out or ordering delivery. While this depends on the types of food parents choose for their families, home-cooked dinners tend to have lower levels of oil, grease, fat, sodium and other unhealthy nutritional factors. This also allows parents to provide smaller portion sizes while adding healthy fruits, low-fat dairy and whole grains to round out their children’s meals.
Family dinners can reduce stress
Believe it or not, stress and anxiety can have a huge impact on ruining nutritional goals – even among children. When the body is under frequent preassure, an individual’s digestive system often has a more difficult time converting calories into usable energy. Stress can also lead to trouble sleeping, which also negatively impacts a person’s metabolism. Family dinners can provide an outlet for children to talk about their troubles and concerns openly with family members, reducing stress levels and increasing a sense of support. Making these meals regular events can help strengthen family ties.
Family meals can happen anytime
The push for more family dinners is becoming a popular public issue, but it doesn’t just have to occur around dinner time. The important part of this movement is stressing more together-time for families to address important issues about nutrition, education, friends, exercise and other developmental issues. Because of this, families should take advantage of these moments whenever they pop up. Hanging out talking around a bowl of grapes midday can be just as beneficial for kids, as enjoying a family breakfast before work and school.
Three simple ways to help kids manage their weight
Obesity is a serious public health issue for America’s children. With all the greasy French fries, cheeseburgers, potato chips and pizza kids are consuming these days, finding ways to help them manage their weight is essential to keeping this generation from becoming overweight. Not sure where to begin? Here are some simple tips for teachers and caretakers to keep in mind about emphasizing healthy eating and exercise on theplayground.
Get rid of soft drinks
One of the easiest ways to cut calories out of children’s diets is by getting rid of soft drinks from school cafeterias and vending machines. Loaded with sugar, these beverages can quickly begin to take a toll on a little’s ones health. By encouraging parents to provide their kids with bottled water, sugar-free iced tea or juice as alternatives, you can have a positive impact on their dietary habits.
Don’t call it exercise
Branding can have a huge impact on the way people think about and purchase commercial products, and the same is true of exercise. Many kids see the terms “exercise” or “physical activity” as being associated with hard work and no fun. Instead of focusing on these negative connotations, consider using words like “playtime” and “fun” to make enjoying the outdoors more appealing.
Encourage more group play
People are social creatures by nature, and doing activities in a group can make them seem more manageable and enjoyable. This is particularly true with healthy living. While you might find it difficult to convince a single student to spend more time with physical activity, turning it into a group event at school can get the whole class excited. Great playground activities include relay races, kickball, basketball and double Dutch jump rope.