Parenting tips from friends and family are essential for a dad in the 2020s, I daydream about what parenting might be like in a world where parents could let their kids run around the neighborhood freely, naturally challenging their bodies via play. ( Like we used to do as kids)…Remember those carefree days of old?
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Instead, today’s remaining few hours of sunshine are obscured by phone games, Youtube, social media, and other junk food for our kids’ brains. Don’t forget the overly processed snack foods that are eaten all while holding that ‘smartphone in the other hand barely looking up at what’s around them. You gotta love’em, right?
Even a worried, well-intentioned dad might frequently feel powerless in the face of marketing genius and rapid satisfaction. Reels, Youtube shorts, and Insta pics and can’t forget Spongebob plus potato chips are tough competitors for exercise and carrot sticks.
All around us, there is evidence. Too many North Americans live unhealthy lifestyles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, putting their health at risk.
The prevalence of obesity among children and teenagers aged 2 to 19 in the years 2017–2021 was 19.7%, affecting more than 14.7 million children and teenagers. A number of diseases associated with obesity include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems like asthma and sleep apnea, and joint problems.
According to the CDC, the proportion of young individuals who are overweight has increased by more than triple since 1980.
Why should I be worried if my children are not obese?
Your kids are normal right? You’re doing great work as a dad. But in a world where walking is limited, school P.E. programs are being cut, and cars, elevators, and buses eliminate our chance to exercise naturally, we need to make a concerted effort to make physical activity part of our day and our children’s days.
So how can parents encourage their children to exercise?
Children and teens should engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical exercise each day, according to the American Heart Association. “At least”… Are your kids getting these minimal minutes incorporated into their days?
The good news is that exercise can be very enjoyable and comes in a variety of forms. You can easily incorporate some enjoyable physical activity into your parenting style with a little imagination. Actually my son and I often go ‘kickboarding’ together. Yes I do look out of place at times with my own razor board but, man, is it fun! There are a variety of scooters for kids(not so much for adults)…
Lead by example
You must lead by example. Children naturally follow their parents, especially younger ones. So, be sure to prioritize physical activity in your life and take care of your health. This must start early. Screen time should not be given to kids under 2 years old. That’s according to research of course, but that should also be a parenting basic, not a parenting tip. Don’t ‘plop’ your infant in front of the TV or let him hold your smartphone while watching cute cartoons on Youtube. That’s just irresponsible parenting. Lead by example remember? Start their active lifestyle at a young age, as early as your family can.
Do it together
We need to make sure we are spending quality time with our son in this overscheduled society. What better approach than to get moving as a group? Moms and dads should play with their children since the kids cannot simply wander around the neighborhood alone, depending on their age and location, of course.
I’m in South Korea, it’s uber safe here except for the craziness of the drivers, otherwise, it’s great for kids. We do yoga as a family at home! You can too!
Parenting tip! Play some music, that 80s music you want to listen to, and start moving. play tag, take your bikes, and go hiking. Really, just have fun, it’s not rocket science. It’s all about initiating a new habit.
Give them games and toys that will motivate them to move around while having fun. No, I’m not talking about Nintendo Wii. Get outside and do something. You could even have your son ride a spinning bike while doing homework…Ok a little over the top, but you get my drift?
Your kids will be more active and move around on bicycles, scooters, hockey sticks, and baseball bats. Tricycles, pedal cars, and other ride-on toys that encourage movement are always excellent parenting choices for toddlers or preschoolers.
My little one has classes for dodgeball, jump-rope and he has a red belt in Taekwondo and he’s not even 6 years old yet. Initiative! Come on dads, your boys are looking up to you.
With support and encouragement, provide positive reinforcements. Find them sports and extracurriculars that will boost their self-confidence. Whether they win or lose, show them you are their biggest supporter by going to their athletic events.
Switch it off
We need to restrict how much time our kids spend watching TV and playing video games. But be careful to approach it positively. They might not be all that enthusiastic to go hiking with you if they are upset because you just turned off their favorite TV show. But again, you’re the one that must initiate these new patterns. YOU!
Allow screen time within designated hours, particularly after homework is finished and after physical activity has ended, such as in the evening or on Saturday morning when exhausted dads may need a few extra minutes to sleep.
All of you will feel better and have more fun as a family if you increase your physical activity levels. Most importantly, by setting an example of a healthy lifestyle, you will encourage your son to develop lifelong habits and positive attitudes toward physical activity.
It all starts with you, only you. Your son will follow if you give him some type of challenge to do. Don’t be soft, if he doesn’t want to be more active with you, please give him ultimatums surrounding his phone use or other things he likes. It’s important to prioritize health before TV.
He might not understand your concept but you can try introducing something new to do each month. He can help you choose a few of those months with whatever he would like to learn or do.
Depending on your area of the world, you could introduce:
February-Easy hike in your area, if you have mountains
March-Take a 60 min walk together as a family after dinner
April-Learn how to play tennis
… or simply fly a kite!… This is my ‘go-to’ when I had a bad week…
And countless more. These are simple parenting tips that you all can do together. Whether you’re in Australia, Japan, Chile, or Canada there is something for everyone, in terms of outdoor activities. The hardest thing is actually making a plan and moving along together to achieve these new monthly habits. Go on…Go…make that plan!
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