If they know they’re exercising how do we teach them to make it a habit? Your kids will know how good it feels to play a running game outside with friends, to be able to carry a big blox of blocks or to be flexible enough to reach for a favorite T-shirt on a high shelf. Just because you’re not letting them in on the secret doesn’t mean you’re letting them off the hook. Reinforce how good activity feels “Isn’t that energy great?”
“I’m so proud of how quickly you did that.” Take the time to talk to your kids about the benefits of exercise without nagging or making it feel like just another “should” in their life.
Equipment to have:
Stopwatch, jumprope, mini trampoline, pogo sticks, sidewalk chalf, hula hoops, balls, hippety hop ball, stability ball, hacky sac, bikes, scooters, rain gear.
Motivate without Saying a Word!
Sometimes the less you say the more impact you make. Keep some simple fitness tools around the house and let your children “discover” them. Leave a mini-trampoline in the TV room, hang a stopwatch in the garage and see how quickly they start timing how fast it takes them to run up and down the driveway.
High Sugar Foods are a no-no
High-sugar foods make kids’ sugar blood sugar soar, and may give them a quick burst of energy. Unfortunately, their blood sugar tends to drop just as quickly leaving them feeling lethargic and hungry. Complex carbs, like whole grains, and proteins like beans and legumes take longer to digest and therefore keep their blood sugar, appetite and energy level on even keel which is why you should utilize them as much as possible.
Limit Screen Time
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you limit the time your child spends in front of the television or computer to no more than 1 to 2 hours a day. The best way to make that happen is to plan what you and your child will watch ahead of time and limit your own time on the couch.
Make Sure They’re Getting Sleep
Not only will it be hard to motivate bleary-eyes bodies to move but a lack of sleep wreaks havoc on hormone levels which in turn can lead to weight. A good night’s sleep also keeps kids healthier and motivated to work out.
Drop Some Hints:
Don’t be afraid to point ou tin the middle of an activity how great your child feels and the skills he’s mastered – your words of encouragement will reaffirm his positive feelings toward exercise.
Dress the Part:
All the exercise in the world won’t do anyone much good if they’re injured, so make sure their sneakers fit and their clothes are appropriate for the activity on hand. Keeping equipment on hand like a pair of sneakers in your car or a ball in your bag, will keep things spontaneous and will nip any exercise excuses in the bud.
Even 10 Minutes of Exercise Makes a Difference:
Sneak exercise in the “cracks” and you’ll be amazed how it ends up. Small changes mean big benefits!
Be a Role Model
If you want your child to have a healthy body image, then you have to have on too. Try not to focus on weight loss when you talk about your workouts and diet or when you are trying to get them to eat healthy. Refrain from criticizing their body and yours.
When your child asks you to go outside and throw a ball around or for help building a fort in the backyard, take them up on it. Chances are you’ll get many more like it. We know you’re busy, but try!
About The Sneaky Chef
Missy Chase Lapine is best known as the creator of the wildly successful Sneaky Chef series of books, including her first, a New York Times bestseller, The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals (Running Press, April 2007). Missy’s second book, The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man in the Kitchen, was published in April 2008, helping to lower cholesterol levels across the nation. Her third book in the series, The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue(April 2009), was inspired by her passionate readers and their special requests. Missy’s latest innovation, Sneaky Fitness, (co-authored with fitness expert Larysa DiDio) cleverly instills the love of movement and fitness in kids. It hit the shelves in January 2010, and has topped children’s fitness lists. The Sneaky Chef and Sneaky Fitness books have inspired not only families around the country, but have established a whole new healthy eating and lifestyle brand category.