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
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.