Britain is in the midst of an obesity crisis, and worryingly, this includes our children too. An NHS report in 2016 found that nearly 10% of children in their first year of school in England are overweight. This figure is set to continue rising if schools and parents do not come up with a swift solution to reduce obesity among children.
When children are young, parents have more control over what they’re being fed and how their time is spent, but with the increased independence that comes with being a teenager, it’s harder to control their lifestyle. For parents with children who are approaching their teens, these are the years when it’s vital to reinforce the value of exercise and healthy eating.
When these healthy values are instilled in children, it increases the likelihood that they will adhere to them during puberty and even later on in life. Here are some easy ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for your pre-teens and keep them active.
- Find activities that are fun
Parents should endeavour to find an exercise that can keep their children active but not necessarily feeling like a sport. Exercises such as bowling and ice-skating are fun to take part in and they’ll get your kids moving at the same time.
- Incorporate the activity in your weekend plans
Family weekends should be planned in such a way that they enable all the family members to be active and fully participate. Activities such as walking, swimming sessions, treasure hunts, which all burn calories, should be encouraged more than activities such as cinema outings.
- Vary the activities
This will go a long way in encouraging the children to find a sport or activity that they love. Parents should take advantage of sports club offers and encourage your children to give fitness sessions a try with their friends before deciding whether to sign up or not.
- Ask and know their friends
Knowing more about their friends will help you learn a lot. The information will help you know which kind of classes and active clubs the friends participate. Eventually, this will add more fun to their activities.
- Avoid becoming paranoid
You can’t control the choices that your child makes when they’re away from home. Instead of getting angry that they may have chosen a burger over a salad for their school dinner, try to balance out what they’re eating and cook the right foods at home instead.
- Take a walk in the garden
Watching television and spending time gaming at home should be limited. Playing games in the garden provides a better alternative since children will be able to be active and have fun at the same time. Even a second-hand trampoline will be a great investment towards getting healthy.
- Consider changing the school-run
The idea of driving to school daily should be stopped. Children should be encouraged to be independent and to walk at all times with their friends. This means that exercise is done even if the journey to school is very short.
- Have an idea of gym options
Take advantage of what different gyms offer, such as the pay as you go’ passes. This encourages your children to get into the habit of exercising as they will be observing the older teens.
- Suggest a team
Being part of a bigger team with some kind of responsibility gives a person a sense of belonging. Many hockey and football teams across the UK accept children without necessarily focusing on their ability, rather, their main goal is to encourage the children to turn up and have fun. Parents should take advantage of this to make their children more active.
- Keep food healthy at home
Suggesting reasons why their food should always be balanced will go a long way in ensuring that your children grow up in a healthy way. This should be done in such a way that allows room for discussion and you should always listen to your child’s opinion. This will lead to a win-win situation for the children as well as the parent.