Families that play together stay together. You have heard that line before. Being a Fit Family together is a way to create a close-knit family bond. From mealtime, household tasks to playtime, Kids love being included. It gives them a sense of responsibility and that their input matters. By letting them be part of the entire process, it builds confidence, life skills, self-esteem and also strengthens your family unit.
Kids are more willing to help knowing they are valued members of the family. Including everyone in weekly meal planning by letting them choose foods they would like to see on the menu. First let them know what a healthy meal consists of. Each meal should contain fresh or frozen vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats and whole grains. Let them choose the vegetables, and what kind of meat or what whole grain to include like brown rice or quinoa. Let your kids help grocery shop and pick out the produce. Showing them how to choose ripe, non-bruised, organic fruits and vegetables. Your kids will be more apt to try new foods if they are part of choosing them at the grocery store, and helping prepare them too (washing, peeling, cutting, grating). Kids are able to help out from a very early age. I know they may be messy and don’t do things perfectly, but they can contribute using age-appropriate jobs. Like setting the table for the younger kids, as they get older, cutting up produce, to actually following a recipe to completion as they get older.
Chores are another way to teach family fitness. Chores can be divided too among family members. From easy chores like picking up toys, dusting, washing window, vacuuming and yard work like pulling weeds, raking, and to eventually mowing the lawn, doing this together makes work get done quicker and allows for more time to play.
Playing with your kids is where real magic happens! Smiling and laughing with your kids makes everyone feel good. A game of hide and seek, soccer in the park or pushing them on the swing. Teaching kids that playtime is a reward after the work is completed vs rewarding them with sweets and treats you will teach them healthy new habits that will last a lifetime.
Sharing tasks with your kids teaches them that they are also important, valued and that their opinion and help is needed. This builds life lessons and keeps your family fit in the process too!
Kim Swenson, Medical Fitness Specialist