So many kids today are overweight and obese that the phenomenon has reached near epidemic proportions in the United States alone. Parents are the strongest influences in their children's lives and it's up to them to feed their children right and then get them up and moving. If you are a parent who worries about keeping your children active, here are some tips.
-- Limit TV viewing and video games
Yes, the kids will protest. Yes, they may cry about it at first. Parents are sometimes so worried about angering their children that they don't stand up for what they know to be in their children's best interest; but it's essential that parents put their foot down and set scheduled times for TV and video game use in their own homes. Start with two hours a day and let each kid choose when the actual time will be that they will be allowed to stare at a monitor, be it TV or computer.
-- Set the proper example
Sitting around all day being passive participants in life leads to overweight parents just as much as it leads to overweight children. Send a message that physical activity is important by engaging in it yourself on a regular basis. If possible, include the kids. Plan hikes as a family or go for a swim at the local pool or nearby lake. You could take karate lessons together or set a time for regular family bike rides. Not only will everyone be healthier, your lines of communication will also improve when you're having fun together.
-- Make your backyard a place where the kids want to go
How about installing a basketball standard on that unused slab of concrete out back? Many families would like to have a trampoline but worry about safety: how about getting a bounce house for your little ones instead? They can bounce for hours without your worrying about dangerous falls or injuries. Get a swing set or a jungle gym for the kids to monkey around on. If you are home during the day, organize backyard games and invite the whole neighborhood over for some good old fashioned physical fun.
-- Get your kids involved in sports
Participating in organized team sports is a great way for children to develop social skills, understand the concept of teamwork, and stay fit while having fun. All communities have soccer, baseball, and basketball leagues for all ages and sexes. If team sports aren't interesting to your child, help him to experiment with various types of individual sports and one just might pique his interest: try tennis, golf, swimming, and even horseback riding. Don't give up too soon if he doesn't find "his" sport right away: when he does, he'll be more likely to be active for a lifetime!
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