3 Things You Can Do Tomorrow to Improve Kids’ Health
As parents, we very simply only want the best for our kids, and that means great physical condition and a healthy weight. But lordy how they make it difficult for us. And, no, I’m not talking about our little ones, I’m talking about everything and everyone else. From chocolates, cookies and penny sweets manufacturers, to Coca Cola and McDonalds, to video game producers, to TV schedulers, smart phones, social media…. aren’t there just way too many bad influences out there?
Today, we arguably have access to better health care and healthy foods than pretty much any generation in the history of the human race, yet, we must also battle against some of the most fearsome distractions there have ever been. So how to look after our kids without losing our hair and making them want to wring our necks in the process? Here are 3 things you can start doing tomorrow:
Enough of all the sugar treats, already! Time to be more imaginative with how we reward children. Quite simply, we have used and abused the manifold fascinations of sugar way – but way – too much. We use sugar to tempt, bribe, punish and distract. But it’s just not good for them, so it’s time to change.
Instead of a chocolate reward for good grades, how about a ball? That would encourage physical activity, it would be doing something to avoid the almost supernatural dependence on sweets that we all seem to have developed by early adulthood, and ball games for an hour are more fun than a fun-size Mars Bars for a minute.
If your child has tidied up nicely, instead of treating them to bad teeth and a promise of a massive energy crash, how about something altogether more creative and meaningful, like colourful UK personalised children’s labels? Children are hugely responsive to physical symbols of positive recognition, so what better way to reward little Emma or Harry than with a charming name tag that they helped design online?
Bad habits develop fast, so rather than stick a smartphone in front your child’s eyes every time they start getting fidgety, you could take the time to introduce them to a pastime of real meaning and benefit. Place a sketch pad and paints or crayons in every room. Have xylophones, harmonicas, and maracas strategically placed around the home. Dot hacky sacks in different corners of your house and instead of getting bored and searching out the nearest Twix, they’ll have tons of things to keep them occupied, engaged, testing themselves and improving. There’s no guarantee that your child will want to start tapping out the theme tune to Peppa Pig, but at least you’ll be giving them the opportunity to do so.
3. Sit at the table
Too many of us are rushed in the morning, rushed at work, then too knocked out to care come the evening. Yet the evening is in many families the only chance we get to spend time together. So recognise this fact and use it. By sitting around together at the dining table when it’s time to eat, your family will not only (hopefully) engage in conversation together, but also liberate yourselves from the damagingly bad habit of watching TV when you eat instead of your food. Studies have shown that when we have our eyes fixed on screens, we consume up to 30% more food at any one sitting. Extrapolate that over a week. In fact, don’t – just stop watching TV all the time and instead enjoy a nice meal together with the family!