MAKE FAM­ILY TIME MAT­TER

IN­STEAD OF SPEND­ING THE SCHOOL HOL­I­DAYS STAR­ING AT A SCREEN, FOL­LOW THESE FIVE STEPS TO PUT THE FUN BACK INTO FAM­ILY FIT­NESS

Life & Style Weekend - - YOU/WELLBEING -

As par­ents, it should al­ways be in the back of our minds that we set the ex­am­ple for our chil­dren. Kids model their par­ents’ be­hav­iours so if you lead a couch potato life­style or al­ways have your face in a de­vice, this sets the bench­mark for your kids … and it’s part of the rea­son child­hood obe­sity rates are mak­ing head­lines. The good news is that there are sim­ple things we can do to re­gain con­trol. The se­cret lies in be­ing cre­ative and mo­ti­vat­ing the fam­ily to get out­doors and start mov­ing … to­gether!

1. CREATE A FAM­ILY FIT­NESS PLAN

Time to put your think­ing caps on.what mo­ti­vates your fam­ily? What sports or ac­tiv­i­ties do you like? What time of the day works best? What are your goals? When there are chil­dren in­volved it’s a good idea to re­move the fo­cus from the end goal (weight man­age­ment or get­ting fit) and fo­cus in­stead on hav­ing some fun fam­ily time. The health ben­e­fits will come if you choose life­style goals that lean to­wards mak­ing bet­ter food choices and be­ing ac­tive. Re­mem­ber, if it’s not fun it won’t work.

2. LEARN SOME­THING NEW

Arm your­self with in­for­ma­tion. The right equip­ment can also help keep you on track. Grab some bikes, hel­mets, skate­boards, run­ning shoes or surf­boards and en­joy learn­ing a new skill to­gether.

3. DO IT TO­GETHER

Head to your lo­cal li­brary or in­ter­net search for inspiring healthy recipes ev­ery­one will en­joy. Take the kids shop­ping and in­volve them in the process of meal plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion to cook a meal they’ll take pride in. You could even plan your own fam­ily Masterchef and give each child their own turn at cre­at­ing a healthy meal for din­ner dur­ing the week (with some su­per­vi­sion from the head chef — that’s you!). En­ter a fam­ily fun run, turn your lounge room into a gym or set aside a morn­ing a week where you can walk or ride to school to­gether. Turn your neigh­bour­hood into a na­ture walk and search nearby streets for flow­ers and new ad­ven­tures.

4. MAKE HEALTHY LIV­ING FUN

Get ad­ven­tur­ous and try out a healthy restau­rant. Watch­ing the menu se­lec­tions your kids make will give you an in­di­ca­tion of what they might like to make at home. Try a new grain, veg­etable or flavours you have never had be­fore. Set up a vegie patch and watch how your kids love to chart the progress of a to­mato plant or snow pea. Find your near­est stand-up pad­dle (SUP) board­ing or kayak hire and take the fam­ily to ex­plore your lo­cal wa­ter­ways. Or it can be as sim­ple as pump­ing out the top 40 mu­sic sin­gles and host­ing your own ver­sion of Aus­tralia’s Got Tal­ent. Plan your next hol­i­day to be an ac­tive one, where you can bush­walk, go horserid­ing, sail or surf to­gether.

5. SET RE­AL­IS­TIC GOALS YOU CAN TRACK

Pop post-it notes on a wall ev­ery morn­ing and take one down each time you take a step to­wards your health goals (for ex­am­ple, took the dog for a walk or tried a new veg­etable for lunch). Pe­dome­ters can be a fun way to track your steps. Set up a fam­ily chal­lenge to see who can cover the great­est dis­tance each day. Make it a goal to dis­cover each street in your neigh­bour­hood within three months. Throw on your run­ners and the kids can scoot or ride be­side you. Keep a chart on the fridge where each per­son marks off their fruit and veg in­take for the day. Doing this is a great vis­ual way for young chil­dren to grasp the idea of what a healthy diet looks like. Re­ward with gold stars, stick­ers or a non-ed­i­ble treat such as a trip to the movies.

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