You’re sprawled out on the couch, one hand on the TV remote, the other hand digging into a half-empty bag of potato chips in between swigs of cola. You tell your teenage daughter to get off Facebook and go exercise like her athletic older brother. Continuing to chat on-line with friends, appearing oblivious to your request. She stuffs a handful of Doritos in her mouth and washes them down with a big gulp of a Monster energy drink. Additionally, she doesn’t budge from the screen for hours. Every day this scenario plays out in households across the country. Your words may seem to fall on deaf ears, but make no mistake: Your kids are paying close attention and following your lead.
According to the government’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children and adolescents should get at least one hour of physical activity each day.
Plan family outings such as bike riding, hiking or rollerblading.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum of one to two hours of screen time each day, including TV, computers and video games. Less screen time means more time for physical activities.
Teach kids that the flawless images of models they see on the cover of magazines aren’t real. They’re digitally enhanced. “The lips are blown up, the coloring is enhanced, and all the fat is taken out and put into her boobs,” says Dr. Robyn Silverman, child and teen development expert and author.
Don’t disparage your body or make negative comments about others. Saying,“I wish I had long, thin legslike hers” or “I shouldn’t have eaten that cheesecake” sends the message that weight andsize are important. Resist the urge to compare or criticize your child’s body in any way.
Instead of dieting, eat balanced nutritious meals and enjoy sweets or fast food as a treat.
Family meals are the perfect time to enjoy conversation without the distractions of TV, cell phones or computers, but the benefits go way beyond connecting. Research studies have shown that having family meals together on a regular basis may lower children’s risk of drug abuse, depression, eating disorders and obesity.
Serving others cultivates gratitude for what we have, while building self-worth and stronger relationships.
How you spend your time and what you put into your body send a powerful message to your kids. When you take care of yourself and make healthy choices, you teach yourchildren to do the same.