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All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

Regular exercise, whether it’s organised sport or free play, is an important habit to instil in your children. It keeps them fit, builds strong bones, tones muscles, burns energy and helps kids maintain a healthy weight. Not to mention, is great fun for kids too.

Check when you have opportunities to fit exercises into their daily routine. Let your child take the bicycle or walk to school on foot. Use the stairs rather than the lift. Plan family activities on weekends like swimming, camping, walking, trekking and games in parks. Limit the amount of time your child spends watching TV, videos or using the PC. Free time is better spent jumping, running, skipping and playing as it will make  them interact with other kids, make play groups and learn socializing.

Be your kids’ role model as they behave just like their parents. Therefore, it is very important that you set a good example. Actions speak louder than words. It’s not productive to teach kids how to be healthy, then not practise what you preach, so be consistent when teaching about healthy eating. Leading by example is often the most effective teaching method. So find delicious and interesting ways to serve up veggies, savour your food, practise portion control, share family meals and most of all enjoy what you eat and relish it!

What To Do If Your Child is Overweight?

If a child is overweight, the whole family must take measures against it. Above all, a clear routine is helpful: regular mealtimes help avoid hunger pangs. Three main meals and up to two snacks are recommended and should be eaten together as a family as often as possible. This is because children and young people who eat with their family at least three times a week tend to maintain a healthier weight and demonstrate healthier patterns of eating behaviour than children who eat on their own. Distractions such as TV, comics or mobile phones should be banned during meals – these lead them to eat more.

Furthermore, little tricks have proven successful. The rule applies: everyone takes a small portion at first, cuts everything carefully and eats slowly. In this way it is easier to tell when you are full. Another tip: never treat eating as a reward. The child is then comforted by sweets when they are sad or stressed. Such behavioural patterns have an effect for their entire lives. It is better to, for instance, praise the child, go swimming together or read a story to them. If your child is very overweight, you should speak to a paediatrician in any case: he or she will discuss and help you put together an eating plan for your child and advise you well.

One More Thing...

‘Diet’ really is a four-letter word! Never mention it to children. Even with overweight children, it’s important that they’re not ‘put on a diet’. Instead, aim to maintain their weight with a balanced diet, exercise and let their height catch up.

Check when you have opportunities to fit exercises into their daily routine. Let your child take the bicycle or walk to school on foot. Use the stairs rather than the lift. Plan family activities on weekends like swimming, camping, walking, trekking and games in parks. Limit the amount of time your child spends watching TV, videos or using the PC. Free time is better spent jumping, running, skipping and playing as it will make  them interact with other kids, make play groups and learn socializing.


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