With the start of a new school year just around the corner, it is the perfect time to set your child, in fact your whole family, up for a healthier year. The next couple of weeks before the first school bell rings is the perfect time to plan and practice some new family habits. You will be amazed what you can accomplish in just a few weeks to see big dividends throughout the school year. Your family is your child’s primary community, so when you are all in it together, you can sustain these changes for a lifetime.
Begin this new school year by setting family rules. Focus on activity, screen time, sleep and nutrition.
Rule # 1 ACTIVITY
Everyone has a scheduled activity during the week.
Parents lead by example. Plan your activity on a family calendar so your child can see when you are going to the gym, playing a sport or walking the dog.
If your children like sports then sign them up for a team that fits their interests and natural abilities. They do not have to play every sport offered at their school. Rather, help them find their athletic community for a year round plan. If the child likes running then consider cross country in the fall and track in the spring. If your child enjoys soccer then look at the outdoor league in the fall and the indoor league during extreme weather conditions.
Consider other athletic options if your child is not team sports-minded such as dance, gymnastics, skating or biking. The key is that the child has a set time to participate weekly in a group activity.
Unscheduled time to be active on their own is important, too. A child’s job is to explore and try new things. Help your child find new interests.
Encourage activities that your child chooses and give them opportunities to excel. Find a like-minded community so the child feels included and valued as a person. This has the double benefit of increasing their fitness and boosting their self-confidence.
Rule # 2 Screen time
Follow this easy formula: screen time = active time.
One hour spent on an activity means one hour earned of screen time. Screen time includes cell phone, television, gaming devices and computers. Make your family accountable by tracking their time on devices. You may be surprised where they are spending their time.
Rule # 3 SLEEP
No screen time in the bedroom
Set bedtimes and wake up times so bodies can rest and repair.
Bedrooms are meant for sleep; it is that simple. Research has shown that children with screens in the bedroom have a much higher rate of obesity. No one wants to be obese so you will need to set your family up for success by creating the right environment. Dedicate the family room for screen time complete with a phone charging station. No one should sleep with a phone.
Rule # 4 NUTRITION
Everyone takes a homemade brown bag lunch to school or work.
Most school lunch programs and meals eaten away from home are too high in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber lacking fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans. You surrender control when you rely on other people to make your meals.
Remember, food is fuel. Your body will not run efficiently if it does not have the right foods.
This school year, involve the whole family in developing a week’s menu plan so shopping is made easy and a routine falls into place quickly. For example, assign a night to each family member to make lunches or give each person a nightly task in the brown bag preparation.
For a jumpstart on your brown bag lunch, add some of these items:
• Tortilla chips with bean dip
• Fresh fruit slices with nut butter
• Raw vegetables with hummus
• Unsweetened organic applesauce cups
• Mini rice cakes with peanut butter
• Garden salad with a vinegar dressing
Family rules will give your child the foundation to a healthy and happy life.
Learn more at www.campjumpstart.com
Camp Jump Start
3602 Lions Den Road
Imperial, MO 63052