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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 4, No. 2 - March/April 2012

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Steps to Improve Your Family Wellness

It is well documented that many children are not getting enough physical activity. Research suggests that in this time poor society, parents find it easier to sit their children in front of a TV or computer rather than take them out for a walk or a bike ride. Parents need to take responsibility for their children getting enough physical activity.

Dr. Ron Eaker says that although some parents might sign their children up for programs thinking they are teaching their children about exercise, "they don't always make the connection that what they model through their actions and attitudes about exercise impacts their children more than anything else". It's not enough for parents to outsource their children's exercise and expect them to form healthy attitudes about physical activity; parents need to teach them by example. A great way for parents to teach their children is for families to exercise together, which is something he calls "family wellness".

Some important steps on the journey to family wellness:

  • Get a good night's sleep. It's no surprise to those of us with children, that sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture. A bad night's sleep can seriously interfere with your health. So, make sure your bedroom is quiet, limit caffeine 12 hours before you go to sleep, stay away from big meals at night and set a regular bedtime and bedtime ritual such as a warm bath and a book. For children, it's important to get them into a bedtime routine too. Have some quiet time before bed, a warm bath and a story. For infants, a massage before bed can help settle the child, improve sleep, reduce crying and relieve problems such as wind, colic, constipation, reflux and eczema.
  • Get your 2 and 5's. Adults need 2 portions of fruit and 5 portions of vegetables per day. The amount children need depends on their age. If you, like most parents, struggle to get your children to eat fruit and vegetables why not invest in a juicer? Encourage your children to choose what ingredients they would like and watch as it gets turned into juice. Make a big batch and freeze it in ice cube trays or snap lock bags.
  • Drink more water. Adults should drink at least 8 glasses a day. Sometimes this is easier said than done but it's important to teach your children that water is the number one source of hydration.
  • Eat dinner as a family around the table, not in front of the TV. This way, you're more likely to eat slower meaning you'll not only appreciate your food more but you'll aid better digestion.
  • Plan your meals - planning your meals means you're not tempted to pick up takeaway on the way home from work or make a rushed unhealthy decision. Try some assembly cooking where you cook in bulk once a month, stocking up your freezer with yummy supplies so you don't have to cook every day.
  • Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier so that you're not rushing around in the morning. You won't miss that extra 20 minutes especially if you've followed the tips above to have a good night's sleep, but you'll feel much better for the rest of the day by not starting it stressed.
  • Commit to exercise as a family. Programs such as Jungle Sports are a great way for families to get active together. These unique programs provide parents with fundamental skills to teach their children about sport, not just in the sessions but at home as well. Fun ways of keeping active are the first steps on the journey to a healthy and happy life. And if you're committing to an activity at the same time each week you are more likely to stick to it.

More Information

Jungle Sports Pty Ltd
P: 02 4945 2221


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