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Helping Kids Get Fit
You want the best for your kids -- including a long and healthy life. But it's not easy. Fast food, TV and other influences make raising strong, fit kids a real challenge. As a parent, what are your options? You have many.
1. Start educating your children early about physical activity and nutrition. Engage children early in physical activity through play.
2. When your children get old enough to join group activities, enroll them. This will enhance their coordination and increase calorie consumption.
3. Include family physical activities in your lifestyle, such as bike riding, walking, or hiking. This will also help with communication and bonding within your family.
4. Limit television viewing and video games in the home. Be firm.
5. Create an environment that will encourage outdoor activities. This could include things like basketball nets, play-scapes, and swimming pools.
6. Reward your children for increasing physical activity. This will reinforce the behavior much more than criticizing or lecturing.
7. Don't push competition in sporting activities. This could intimidate your kids and keep them from feeling comfortable or successful in their sport. Sports should focus on fun, especially in the early years.
8. Help your children choose activities that they enjoy and feel successful in. If children do not enjoy the activity, they will not want to participate. Allow them to experiment with many forms of activity before they choose one that is right for them.
9. Schedule your children regularly for the appropriate physical exams.
10. Begin early to educate your child on safety in all they do. It is important to wear the proper protective apparel with certain sports. Have your children wear bike helmets, knee and elbow pads, when appropriate.
11. Reduce the amount of high fat, high sugar snacks in the house and replace with natural treats like fruits, vegetable and low fat grain products such as pretzels. Make sure your children get a well balanced diet of low fat, healthy foods.
12. Children need adequate sleep to grow and repair tissue. Increased physical activity will further increase their need for rest.
13. Become involved in your children's activities. Most children want to please you and will be more committed to their activity if you are there to support them. Be a role model. Remember, your children look up to you and will view all that you do as acceptable.
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