I am 6 1/2 years into this adventure called motherhood and I continue to learn something new every day. My parenting is a fluid story and changes all the time. However, there is one thing I am committed to and that is making sure my children live a healthy and active lifestyle. Here are some tips I’ve used to keep my kids healthy and active during the summer:
1. Make food fun- I have the best luck with foods my kids work for. They love popping the soy beans out of edammame and cracking the shells of peanuts or pistachios. Foods that I never thought they would eat have become some of their favorites and I incorporate these into snack time as much as I can. I have also found it helpful having bowls of fresh fruit like strawberries and blueberries in the refrigerator ready to eat.
2. Exercise-I truly believe if our kids see us exercising and eating right, they will too. As a runner, I would sometimes rather take off and pound the pavement by myself; however, a lot of times I have the boys tag along. I cannot tell you how amazing the conversation is when my kids ride their bikes next to me while I run. When I am not dodging the occasional swerve of the bikes, we laugh, joke, talk and get closer. After working all day, it is a special time I can spend with them and show them I am committed to my health as well.
3. Play - One of our favorite things to do is set up an obstacle course around the yard. The kids run around the house, complete the obstacles, get very tired and laugh the whole time. We even have age group awards (works great because they are all different ages)! We have dance contests where they try to outdo each other, which are hysterical. If they see one of them is doing “the worm” then we have “the worm” going on all around the dance floor!
4. Laughter- I just read a statistic the other day. The average preschooler laughs or smiles 300 times a day. That the number drops to only 20 times a day by the time people reach adulthood. To me, there is nothing sweeter then hearing the belly laughs of my kids when I tickle them. I know when I have taken the fun out of my day; I can always count on them to help bring it back. Trust me, they always have some crazy antic that makes me laugh.
5. Indulge… every once in a while- I believe everything is fine in moderation and my kids get to enjoy cupcakes here and there. It has not been any easy road adding more fruits, veggies and good-for you-foods into their diets. Trust me when I say they have sometimes fought me tooth and nail. I get asked for dessert at least 4 times between dinner and bedtime. They ask even when they have already enjoyed a dessert and then laugh when I remind them they already had dessert.
However you choose to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into your kids’ lives, be sure you are making smart decisions for yourself as well. Our kids are always watching, learning and looking up to you.
What have you done to make you or your family healthy? Send us your story at socialmedia [at] floridablue [dot] com and we will feature it on the blog!