Advertising
Advertising

Fighting Obesity & Raising Healthy Children Through Sports

Fighting Obesity & Raising Healthy Children Through Sports

Since I’m concentrating on home improvement, parenting, and overall life improvement recently, I have been paying attention to some different stuff. I was walking next to a children’s playground the other day that was completely empty. It got me thinking, why are there no children playing here?

The era of digitalization and virtual reality is progressing rapidly, and we find ourselves stuck to modern entertainment more than ever before. Many of our children are addicted to video games and social networks and have lost their interest for playgrounds like these. A sedentary lifestyle — a lack of activity — is one of the factors that may lead to obesity, which is one of the most common health problems in the world today.

During my walk, I encountered a group of youngsters all looking for Pokémon. It got me thinking — at least there is something that brings kids out of their rooms, off the couches. If there is a possibility to stimulate children to be active and healthy, it should be understood better and shared. Around one-third of children are obese today. While obesity can be caused by medical issues or just genetics, as parents there are some easy things we can do to reduce the risk. We all want our kids to be happy, healthy, and to grow into healthy people.

Children are our future, and we must take this issue seriously.

A positive attitude towards the solution is the best answer and a foundation for the future generations. Healthy living is our obligation, our necessity, our right. Our children can have healthy lives, and we are the ones responsible for them. It’s not that hard — we only need to be smart and make some good decisions.

Proper education during the raising of children is important, no doubt about that, but being healthy is not something you can tutor your child in. This is actual, physical work.

The quickest and most cost-effective way to achieve this is to get your child interested in sports.

Advertising

Of course, you don’t need to enlist your child in every available sports activity; letting them choose one will be quite sufficient. There are numerous advantages of staying active, and, according to some experts, not all of them are of a physical nature.

Here are some suggestions to help in raising healthy children:

Preschool

raising-healthy-children-2

    During this period, your kid should be focused on exploring the world and their surroundings, learning about them, and having fun. It would be smart to restrict any usage of modern technology, simply because kids get addicted to it pretty quickly.

    Although it may seem difficult to keep up the pace with children as they wiggle and run around, do your best. Try to be a part of their world. Here’s an interesting idea for some quality time with your kid — obtain a trampoline for your yard or house. This will probably be a fulfillment of your childhood dream, and your kid will enjoy it as well.

    A trampoline will provide a lot of playtime for your youngster, and you can join the party. It relieves stress and enhances balance and natural stamina. Jumping on a trampoline together will strengthen the child-parent bond, which will benefit both of you in the long term.

    Advertising

    Swimming

    raising healthy children - swimming

      One of the rare sports which can literally be prescribed by doctors, swimming can benefit your child in many ways. To move the body through the water, all muscle groups need to be active, so a benefit is seen from the very beginning. Lung capacity is also increased.

      Trust can be built with swimming, as the parent can show and teach a child the basics of breathing, swimming, and most importantly, overcoming the fear of water. This is a vital cornerstone for building a solid foundation of trust and an excellent opportunity to bond.

      Dancing

      raising healthy children - dancing
        Photo by Meg Stewart via Flickr, Creative Commons license

        Children simply love to dance. Whether it be to hard rock music and Whitesnake or R&B with Beyoncé, they will swing their hips and enjoy it. Flowing with the music is one of the best feelings ever, topped only by flowing with skills and knowledge. Feet and body coordination will be improved, as well as motor skills. Other benefits include reduced risk of osteoporosis, increased heart and lung condition, muscle tone, and many others.

        Also, social skills and building confidence are part of dancing. This is important, especially in a modern world. As a parent, you have the responsibility of recognizing which kind of music your child likes best, and trying to find that or similar kinds of dance lessons. Who knows, perhaps you will start as well?

        Basketball

        Advertising

        raising-healthy-children-5

          Around the age of two, kids start trying to dribble the ball. Later, as their coordination improves, they become better and better at doing so. The art of putting the ball through the hoop will benefit them in terms of improving eye-hand coordination, increasing jump height, and building stamina and endurance.

          Basketball is also a team sport, which means that your child will learn how to be a useful part of the group, and how to think fast, thus improving their reflexes. Socializing is also a plus, meaning that the child will have friends apart from school, broadening their views.

          Martial arts

          raising-healthy-children-6

            The world we are living in is not as friendly as we would love it to be. Sometimes we have to think in advance to be prepared. To be clear, not all martial arts are violent and bloody. Take aikido for example. The art of defending yourself with care for the opponent may seem like a strange combination, but it builds courage and self-confidence.

            If your child knows that if someone wants to hurt them, he or she can defend themselves without a fatal outcome, it will develop a into significant part of their personality. It can teach them how to bear with stress and other problems once they grow up. Of course, there are other arts as well. Capoeira is a combination of dance and martial art, and with its jumping and twisting it can seems rather interesting to kids.

            Soccer

            Advertising

            raising-healthy-children-7

              The art of kicking the ball is one of the most popular sports today. Role models such as Leo Messi and David Beckham are present on children’s posters, but there is more under the surface. Excellent stamina and feet, eye, and body coordination are the most common benefits for those who decide to enlist in this sport. Kids also feel great when accomplishing something as part of the team, so they will be overjoyed once their team wins. If you are a soccer fan, be sure to introduce them to some of your favorite classic players and their personality.

              Gymnastics

              raising-healthy-children-8

                Present in human society since the dawn of civilization, this sport was considered as art for ancient Greeks and therefore was part of the Olympics since the beginning. Those kids who enlist in this sport may continue practicing it, or it can be considered as a foundation for any other sport. Practicing gymnastics, your child can develop muscle tone and flexibility.

                It’s not that hard to raise a healthy child

                The most important thing is to make your youngster try several activities, and see which one they enjoy the best. After that, make sure you’re helping them progress and not forcing anything. The love for the game will do the rest.

                There is no better way to improve our children’s health than sports. Not just physical development, but emotional and mental as well; this is the way to create better people and thus a better future.

                Are you raising a youngster at the moment? Let us know how you do it!

                More by this author

                Dejan Kvrgic

                Blogger, Writer

                Haircare 101: Hairstyling Tricks for Both Men and Women 30 Excellent Slow Cooker Recipes For Lazy People 5 Things You Must Know to Find the Best Headphones Bedroom Makeover 101: Enhancing The Most Important Place In Your Home 8 Fun Ways to Make Your Wedding Truly Memorable

                Trending in Child Development

                1 Want Your Kids To Be Happy For A Lifetime? Make Them Feel Secure In The Early Days 2 Necessary Steps When Teaching Your Teenager to Drive 3 5 Tips For Teaching Money Management To Children 4 7 Effective Tips for Your Child’s Positive Growth 5 5 Ways to Ease Back to Work Without Nanny Anxiety

                Read Next

                Advertising
                Advertising
                Advertising

                Published on July 23, 2020

                11 Signs You’re an Overprotective Parent (And What to Do About It)

                11 Signs You’re an Overprotective Parent (And What to Do About It)

                Have you ever followed your child around the playground? They may have been a toddler and you were worried they would take the wrong step and fall off the jungle gym. Therefore, you followed your toddler around, keeping them within arm’s reach so that you could prevent them from falling or having an accident.

                I have been that parent at the playground in the past. With twin boys who had no fear as toddlers, I would follow them onto playground equipment because I was concerned for their safety.

                After a few months of doing this, I stopped. I came to realize that children need to learn through their own experiences. They will fall, but they will also learn how to avoid danger and make calculated judgments about risks through their experiences. If I was always there to stop them from falling, they wouldn’t learn to stop themselves.

                They had to learn things on their own. Of course, as a parent, it is still my responsibility to not place them in situations where they could be terribly injured.

                For example, we started at playgrounds that were intended for children under the age of five. We didn’t move up to the big playgrounds until they were old enough and aware of their behaviors and the risks involved in playground play activities.

                Why Parents Become Overprotective

                The intention of overprotective parenting is well-meaning. These types of parents are highly concerned about their children’s safety and decision making. Their ultimate goal is to protect their child from harm. Parents should be concerned about the safety and well-being of their children.

                However, on the flip side, parents should also be teaching their children about risk and responsibility. Those lessons are best taught through life experience. If we are always following behind our children, ready to catch them at a moment’s notice, then we aren’t allowing them to learn about risk and responsibility.

                Unger, a researcher on overprotective parenting, suggests that parents should allow children to participate in activities on their own that are considered low-risk.[1] This means allowing children to engage in activities on their own that provide “manageable amounts of risk and responsibility.”

                Unger cited that parents have become increasingly more protective of their children and are much more watchful of their children’s activities than previous generations.

                The problem with being an overprotective parent is that the child misses out on the opportunity to build responsible behavior skills, build autonomy, and develop self-esteem. Their confidence can be undermined when mom or dad are always watching and guiding their behavior.

                They can develop a sense that they are unable to make their own good decisions because they are never allowed to do so in life. Their confidence and self-esteem are hindered when they aren’t allowed to do things on their own without their parents hovering or watching over them.

                What Are the Signs of an Overprotective Parent?

                Parents with overly protective tendencies think that they are helping their child. Their goal is to protect their child, but it goes to the extreme. Below are some ways that a parent can be overly protective.

                Advertising

                This type of behavior can end up harming their child’s development when one or more of these behaviors is present. There are likely other ways that a parent can be overprotective of their child, as this list is not comprehensive.

                These are examples so you can assess your behavior to determine if you need to loosen up overly protective parenting habits.

                1. You choose your child’s friends or direct them toward friendships with particular children.
                2. You don’t allow them to do activities on their own. For example, not allowing them to walk the dog in front of your home even though you live in a safe neighborhood and could even watch them from the front window.
                3. You are constantly monitoring your child. For example, you show up at their sports practices often to check in and see how they are doing or you go online to check their grades every week to ensure that they don’t have any missing work in any classes. If they do have missing work, you make sure that they get it completed and turned in before their final grade can be affected.
                4. You prevent them from making mistakes when you can see that they are going to make a low-risk mistake. For example, not allowing your five-year-old to put ketchup on their pancakes because you know they are going to dislike it and ruin their breakfast. You won’t allow them to chose to make such a mistake because you know that they will cry and get upset and you want to prevent them from becoming emotionally upset.
                5. You don’t allow them to go to friend’s homes without you.
                6. Sleepovers at other homes or camps are never allowed during their childhood.
                7. You drill them with questions about their life when they are out of your sight, such as wanting to know about all the details of their school day every day when you pick them up from school.
                8. You guide them to the extent that they are prevented from failing. For example, not allowing your teen to try out for the basketball team because you know that they will not make the cut.
                9. You make their decisions for them. For example, you don’t allow them to choose whether they can walk to school or ride the bus. You drive them and do not allow for any decision outside of this because you want to keep them safe.
                10. You are always volunteering to serve in their school classroom or chaperone the school trips because you want to “keep an eye on what is going on in your child’s class”.
                11. You do not allow them to have secrets or privacy. For example, they are not allowed to have a locked diary that you do not read or you don’t allow them to lock their bedroom door ever.

                Why Being Overprotective Is Not a Good Idea

                Kids learn from natural consequences. If they are not allowed to have natural consequences because their parent is continually protecting them from failure and harm, their development is being hindered.

                For example, let’s look at a child named Sally who is 13. She is a child who is overly managed by her parents and is not allowed to go to sleepovers or even go to another friend’s home. Her parents are worried about stranger danger and what can happen if they are not with their child.

                Sally is allowed to have friends at her home, but her parents are always watching the kids. Whenever Sally and her friends begin to disagree, the argument is squelched before the children can even begin to work things out between themselves because Sally’s parents will intervene and solve the problem.

                Sally is never alone with friends outside of school because her parents are always present. The presence of her parents in her socialization is hindering her development.

                She doesn’t know how to work out disagreements between her peers because she has never been allowed the opportunity to even try. Her social skills are lacking because parents intervene to direct her behavior while she is with her friends.

                Kids Need Space and Time

                Kids need space and time to be independent while they are children. If Sally were to be left alone with her friends, her friends would eventually push back at her bossy behavior when her parents are not present.

                However, because Sally’s parents are always present she gets away with being overly-bossy to her friends. She is not learning about the natural consequences of her bossiness but someday will when it may be difficult to change her behaviors as she is older in more set in her ways.

                It is easier to learn through natural consequences at a young age. Sally will likely end up going to therapy as an adult because she can’t keep friendships intact. Her bossy behaviors and lack of awareness have led to her having severed friendships repeatedly as a young adult.

                She will have to work with a therapist to uncover the reason why she is losing friends and then work to change her behavior to learn better ways to act towards her friends in the future.

                Effects of Overprotection

                There are a variety of effects of overprotective parenting. It is often dependent on the methods the parent utilizes and the extent of the overprotective behavior.

                Advertising

                For example, let’s look at Tina who is a girl age 10. She wants to run and participate in her school’s after-school competitive track program. However, she is not allowed to participate in after school activities because her parents are worried that she will be exposed to boys and may start having relationships with the opposite sex too young.

                Another concern is that a boy may “take advantage” of their daughter, so they want to protect her from being exposed to boys outside of school and their supervision.

                The problem with this is that Tina is missing out on participating in a sports activity that could help her develop friendships. She is also missing out on the opportunities associated with being a part of a team, working hard physically to compete, and developing sportsmanship skills.

                Her parents are well-meaning, but their over-protection is preventing her from participating in a sports activity that she deeply desires to engage in.

                There are other effects of overprotective parenting. Below are some examples.

                Examples of Overprotective Parenting

                This list is not comprehensive, as every parenting situation and family is unique. However, this list can help provide some insight into the detrimental effects that overprotective parenting can cause.

                1. Lack of Self-Esteem Development

                If children are not allowed to try things on their own, they cannot build self-confidence and self-esteem.

                2. Lack of Autonomy

                If a child is always accustomed to having a parent around and supervising their behavior, they can become dependent on the decision making of their parents because they are never allowed to be alone or do things alone.

                3. Anxiety

                A child who is never allowed to try to do things on their own can become anxious when they are finally allowed to try things out on their own. They worry about making mistakes or failing because they have continually had a parent to help them avoid mistakes and failure.

                4. Lack of Responsibility

                When parents are always helping and guiding their children to an extreme, children will fail to develop their own responsibility skills. If they are never held responsible for anything, how can they develop a sense of responsibility?

                5. People-Pleasing Tendencies

                Youniverse explained that children who have overprotective parents who constantly direct their children’s behavior end up seeking the approval of those in their life.[2] These children will grow up accustomed to someone always telling them what the “right behavior” looks like.

                If they don’t have that praise or comfort of someone saying they did things right, they can become anxious or depressed. They become people-pleasers who seek the appraisal of others.

                Advertising

                6. Risky Behavior

                When children are raised in an overly protective home, they often engage in risky behavior when the reigns are lifted. They haven’t experienced the failures associated with low-risk situations at a younger age because of their overly protective parents.

                Therefore, when they get older, access to high-risk situations becomes more easily accessible, and without understanding high risk versus low-risk situations, they engage without the wisdom of previous experiences.

                Because of their inexperience with risks in general, they may engage in high risk because they are unaware of consequences.

                7. Diminished Development Regarding Fear, Social Skills, and Coping Skills

                Psychology Today explains that children with overprotective parents have developmental issues, such as not being able to deal with stress and poor social skills.[3]

                For example, a child who isn’t allowed to play on a playground because the parent wants to protect their child from injury is prevented from learning about risk-taking on the playground and the bumps and bruises from consequences.

                Such a child may grow up to either having too much fear because it was instilled by their parents or have no fear because they have no concept of high-risk versus low-risk behavior.

                8. Lack of Immunity

                The Psychology Today article also explained that children who have overly protective parents that do not allow exposure to germs can become children who have a compromised immune system. Exposure to germs as children is needed for them to develop a healthy immune system naturally.

                When parents are disinfecting everything the child encounters and not allowing exposure to germs (e.g., not allowing them to go to a petting zoo or to play in the sandbox because of the germs in those places), they can be stunting their child’s ability to develop their immune system.

                9. Control Freaks

                Children who have been parented by control freaks learn this behavior from their parents. Parents are the primary role model of behavior for their children. If children see their parents acting as though they must have control over others and every situation at all times, then they too will learn to behave in this same manner.

                What to Do If You Are an Overprotective Parent

                If after reading this content you feel that you may be an overprotective parent, there is hope. You can change.

                It begins with loosening the reigns of control over your child in a calculated and reasonable manner. Allowing for low-risk behaviors and the consequences involved can help your child become more independent.

                There is definitely a balance to protective versus overprotective parenting. Allowing for activities and exposure to experiences that are low-risk is a good way to start.

                Advertising

                For example, allowing your child to play on age-appropriate playground equipment (without following them) is a good first step. They will experience some bumps and bruises, but this is a part of normal development and learning about consequences.

                You will want to research authoritative parenting methods if you feel you are an overprotective parent. Overprotective parents tend to be authoritarian parents.

                Here is a LifeHack article I previously wrote about authoritarian parenting, so you can understand the drawbacks to this parenting method: Authoritarian Parenting.

                Authoritative parenting is not control-based parenting. It involves teaching consequences naturally, allowing age-appropriate decision-making, and having conversations with children rather than dictating for ultimate control and compliance.

                MSU Extension provides some great guidelines for authoritative parenting.[4] Below are some of the behaviors they described with authoritative parenting methods:

                • Provide reasonable, age-appropriate expectations for children.
                • Stress and anxiety for children can have positive outcomes, as they are allowed to experience these feelings in small doses as children. They can then build their coping skills and ability to deal with stress and anxiety through experience.
                • Encourage independence, as it helps children build their confidence and self-esteem.
                • Allowing for failures when they are young helps them learn how to pick themselves back up and try again. Developing this ability at a young age regularly will help prepare them for bigger failures when they are older, such as breakups, failed classes, or losing a job.

                Final Thoughts

                It is never too late to work on our parenting skills. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, therefore, we can always be working on improving our parenting methods.

                We all want our children to be successful, happy, and competent as adults. It does not happen overnight. Parenting is a continual process of trying daily to help our children live and learn through their own life experiences.

                If we try to protect them every step of the way, then they are not being allowed to truly experience life.

                Allow for age-appropriate experiences and allow for failures so that they can learn how to pick themselves back up and try again.

                More Tips on Effective Parenting

                Featured photo credit: Sue Zeng via unsplash.com

                Reference

                Read Next