Healthy Families Start with Parents’ Example
What example are you setting for your children when it comes to making healthy decisions, exercising and eating right? Do you talk to them about getting exercise and why you enjoy it? Or are you trying to find your own path when it comes to getting regular physical activity? A new study shows parents play a critical role in influencing how children feel about physical activity and their interest in being active themselves. If you realize you and your children are sitting on the less active end of the spectrum, working towards the goal of making physical fitness a priority can be achieved by working together.
“Parents don’t have to be athletes or dietitians,” says Bailey Medical Center Health and Wellness Coordinator David Steward. “They just need to be engaged with their kids in activities and making healthy choices.”
Being engaged in these choices with their children is the premise behind Bailey Medical Center’s program, PLAY, in partnership with Owasso Public Schools. Whether it is learning what food swaps you can make to earn a sticker in the PLAY Passport when dining out or fun ways to be active with your kids, PLAY is helping Owasso students and their parents work together as a team to create a healthier family and community.
“The best method is not to teach or explain, but to show them that a healthy lifestyle is a priority for the whole family,” explains David.
It is up to the parents ultimately to set the schedule for the week, not the children. Make sure there is time most days a week to do something fun with your children to promote physical activity. If they are active on sports teams, take advantage of that opportunity outside of practice and games.
“The best way for parents to be ‘involved in your kid’s sport’ is to stop watching from the sideline and start playing in the front yard,” says David. “The key is to have fun with your kids by going on a bike ride, play catch or go down a slide. Let them help you make celery and peanut butter snacks or create their own healthy recipe at home. Have fun!”