How to Raise Healthy Kids :: 8 Easy Tips

Turning my every day, mom-in-charge choices, into healthier ones for my entire family!

JenEngelFamily-2

I work full time and stay more than busy chasing my two children, Evie (age 3.5) and Lulu (10 months). And I do it while carrying the extra load of my husband’s at home duties while he travels for work.

So, yes. When things are crazy, they are crazy. And I have learned those are the times my mom-in-charge-choices can get run over by the urge to make things EASIER.

For example:

  • It is way easier to grab another cup of coffee with the hazelnut creamer for breakfast rather than get up a bit earlier and make the veggie egg bake I pinned so long ago.
  • At times, it is easier to keep the TV rolling and get another load of laundry done rather than rally the kids for an after dinner trek pulling them around the neighborhood in the wagon.
  • And, it is so much easier to park closer to the playground rather than take the further walk lugging a diaper bag and children four blocks away.

But when the urge for EASIER happens, I remind myself that all of my choices, which soon could become habits, may also rub off on my family. And, according to the American Heart Association, about one in three American kids is overweight, obese and dreadfully physically inactive. Ugh! It is causing health problems like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and even elevated blood cholesterol levels. I do not want my children to grow up as a part of this epidemic because of the choices I make for them.

So this is what I try to do. I turn my every day, mom-in-charge choices, into healthier ones. You can do it too with these eight easy tips!

1. Be a good role model – You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if kids see you trying to eat right and getting physically active, they’ll take notice of your efforts.

2. Keep things positive – Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done, especially after they make it to the top of the park hill or have finished all of their broccoli!

3. Get the whole family moving – You can start doing this today. Madison is a great place to take walks, ride bikes, and go swimming, or explore a new park.

4. Be realistic – Small steps can make a big difference in your health over time, so for example start by developing a 30 day family exercise challenge. Even my Evie can attempt jumping jacks!

5. Encourage physical activities that they’ll really enjoy – They’ll stick with it longer if they love it. Check out these activities for kids.

6. Pick truly rewarding rewards – So no TV, video games, or candy. Celebrate good behavior with a new book, or trip to the splash park.

7. Think about food – When you think about what you are preparing there is less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much. For example, when Evie is begging for another snack she has a choice. She can have “anytime foods” which are veggies or fruit. The ones our body needs to stay healthy. That is it. And at other times, by my choice, she can have “sometimes foods.” These are fruit snacks, crackers, or anything else that falls into the not-so-fresh category. You know, the ones we all want to enjoy but should only in moderation. Most of the time she prefers the “anytime foods” over her “sometimes foods” options. When she makes that choice, it is a great feeling!

8. Be an advocate for healthier children – Insist on good food choices at school. Make sure your children’s healthcare providers are monitoring cardiovascular indicators like BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol. Contact public officials on matters of your children’s health.

Small changes can turn into lifelong habits for everyone in your family! Good luck!

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Jen Engel lives in Sun Prairie and is mom to Evie, age 3, and Lulu, 10 months. She is a National Go Red For Women spokesperson and volunteer for the American Heart Association.

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Madison Mom
Madison Moms Blog is written by and for moms who live in the Madison Area. We strive to connect local moms by sharing personal experiences, fun ideas and useful information as well as promoting local businesses. Our community begins online, but doesn't stop there! We offer Mom's Night Out events, play groups and other opportunities to connect offline, with and without kids.

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