Healthy kids are active kids, and according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is important for them to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. But many times children don’t get that much physical activity at school leaving it up to parents to make sure they are active at home. So, how do families become more active? Healthy Kids Today had compiled three simple tips for how you can become a more active family.
Identify different types of fun physical activities
- Try a variety of activities. Every family is different. Sit down with family members and make a list of activities you think might be fun for everyone. This could include anything from jump rope, and dancing to gardening or even kick ball.
Lead by example
- As a parent, it is important to model the behavior that you want to see your children exhibit. After you identify the fun activities, take charge and make sure to schedule time to do them. Also, incorporate being active into everyday life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or bike to your destination instead of driving.
Limit screen time
- Determine an appropriate amount of screen time for your family. Once you establish what works for you and your children, limit screen time to that amount. Screen time includes watching TV, being on the computer, playing video games and mobile devices, such as tablets and phones.
Added together, these simple changes can make a big difference in family life and health. Although it might be hard to fit 60 consecutive minutes of physical activity into the day, remember it is OK to tackle the goal in pieces. If you can only get in a 30-minute walk after school, follow that up later in the day with another 30 minutes of activity. It is up to parents to ensure their families are staying active. Comment below and tells us how you plan to make your family more active.
Did you know March is Florida’s Bicycle Month? The City of Winter Park is celebrating by joining the city’s Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Board to host the 5th Annual Bike from Park to Park on Friday, March 22, at 8 a.m.
Bike from Park to Park is a free scenic bike ride that begins at Central Park West Meadow located at the corner of Morse Boulevard and New York Avenue. The ride is approximately 3.5 miles, takes bicyclists through Martin Luther King Jr. Park to Mead Botanical Garden, by Azalea Lane Recreation Center, and back to Central Park West Meadow, where refreshments will be provided. Bike from Park to Park supports the mission to promote a viable and safe pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly infrastructure of Winter Park.
This is a great activity for the entire family. Bicycling is a fun activity that gets your family moving and staying fit. Remember to always wear a proper fitting helmet, adjust your bike to fit properly and watch for and avoid hazards on the road. Come out this Friday and enjoy a fun filled morning of bike riding. For more information on Bike from Park to Park click here.
Ricky Shaw, Hungerford Elementary Healthy School Team Leader and physical education teacher, recruited a health coach for a select group of his students to teach them about how to make healthy eating choices on March 6. This was part of an ongoing effort by the Healthy School Team to improve the health of Hungerford’s students and facility.
The program promoted, Stop Slow Go, explains the “Go” foods good to eat at most any time, the “slow” foods you should eat in moderation and the “stop” foods that should be avoided or limited. The differences are emphasized by using a stoplight with red, yellow and green lights. The students were shown pictures of food and asked which group they thought the item belonged to—Go, Slow or Stop. Students also learned about the different food groups and examples of healthy options in each.
After the health coach finished her presentation, the students took 30 minutes to exercise on YMCA-donated kid-sized exercise equipment . Each child got on a machine and exercised for a few minutes before rotating to the next one. The importance of the program was to show the students that healthy nutrition can be simple and delicious and that exercise can be fun. The program was an apparent success because at the end, all of the students said they liked exercising because it was fun.
Family dinners are a time to strengthen family ties and keep track of what is happening in your child’s life. They can also lead to better physical and mental health for children. According to a Harvard study, families that eat dinner together most days were associated with healthier eating. Additionally, children who often eat with their family tend to do better in school. Cooking and serving meals at home allows more control over the quality and quantity of your family’s food choices. Kids tend to mimic their parents attitudes about food; therefore, when you show your children that healthy eating is important they will follow your lead.
Your CHILL counselors, the mental health professionals based in each Winter Park Consortium School (Winter Park High and the elementary and middle feeder schools) have given a few tips for making the most of family meal times.
- Encourage your kids to help make the food. Keep it easy and simple, yet nutritious.
- Have your children set the table and help clean the dishes.
- Family meals should be a time for conversations, swapping ideas, feelings and learning about your children’s day.
- Have each person in the family share one experience about his or her day or one thing that they liked about his or her day.
- Turn off the TV, radio or other electronics and enjoy family time.
- Encourage everyone to eat slowly. You will enjoy each other longer and you will be able to easily tell if you are full so you don’t over eat.
- Meal time provides a great opportunity to reinforce family ties and pass on family traditions.
- Make dinner time about enjoying each other and learning about each other, not about discipline or discussing problems with school or work. Keep the tone of the conversation light and save the big stuff for family meetings or individual talks.