Activity and healthy living have always been a focal point in our family because it is such a passion of mine. But that is not the case in all families, especially when there are so many inactive options for kids between iPads, computer games, video games, television, etc. One of the most important things we can do is to start when our kids are young setting the example of getting and staying active, teaching them about proper nutrition, what consequences food has on their bodies (both good and bad) and how they can help keep your family healthy.
Life isn't always perfect and we all make mistakes and forget that we are setting the example for our kids. I have been guilty of picking up a pizza because of soccer practices or running through the drive-thru because I stayed late at work, but every now and then should be the exception and not the rule. The other night my son reminded me of that when we were driving to my parents house. He was so excited that he had received a McDonald's gift card from his prayer partner at church and wanted to buy the family McFlurries with his "debit card". The joy on his face that he got to order and pay for the treat was so cute, I almost wished I had video taped it to go with this post! Later in the car he said to me, "You know mama, I really should not have had this today." His reaction surprised me, so I had to ask, "Why is that?" His response in a wise 7 year old voice, "Because I had hot lunch and 2 birthday treats at school today, so another treat was probably not appropriate." I was so happy that my kids were getting the point about good nutritional choices and voicing it on their own, I doing a little dance in my head. But I know that everyday cannot always be full of perfect proper nutrition, to say otherwise would be hypocritical. I just responded, "I am proud of you for realizing that too much junk food is not healthy for you. But, you know, it's okay to have a free day now and then where you can enjoy special days and treats with your friends and family. Tomorrow you will just need to remember the treats you had today and make wise choices for meals and snacks." He finished that McFlurry with a big smile on his face. As we celebrated Thanskgiving with my family the next day I had a big smile on my face, and doing that same little dance in my head, when he asked if we could split a piece of apple pie because he was "making good choices today".
So in my story about the pride in my son and his "ah-ha" moment, I know that not all people have the passion and the knowledge that I do around nutrition and healthy living, but that there are resources out there that can help. I was on WebMd yesterday looking at an article when I noticed an icon called "What's fit for Kids?" and thought I would check it out. While there are video game type activities on this portion of the site, I really think they get kids and families thinking about the right things as far as how foods and exercise help our bodies so we can have healthier days!
I love that the site has different sections depending our your children's ages; 2-7, 8-12, and 13-18. This allows for a tailored age appropriate messages around 4 main areas of Food, Recharge, Move and Mood. Kids can answer quizzes, take on a challenge, learn about new foods, and more.