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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.

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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

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    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.

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    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

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          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

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            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

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              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

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                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!

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                Dejan Kvrgic

                Blogger, Writer

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                Last Updated on August 22, 2019

                14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

                14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

                According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

                One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

                But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

                1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

                Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

                Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

                Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

                2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

                At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

                Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

                Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

                Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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                3. Build a Community

                In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

                Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

                4. Accept Help

                Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

                There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

                5. Get Creative with Childcare

                Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

                If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

                When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

                6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

                As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

                Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

                7. Create a Routine

                Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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                If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

                Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

                8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

                If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

                When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

                This article may help you to discipline your child better:

                How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

                9. Stay Positive

                Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

                Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

                Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

                10. Move Past the Guilt

                In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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                Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

                Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

                11. Answer Questions Honestly

                Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

                Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

                Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

                12. Treat Kids Like Kids

                In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

                There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

                Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

                13. Find Role Models

                Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

                Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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                Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

                14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

                Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

                Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

                Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

                Final Thoughts

                Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

                However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

                Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

                More Resources About Parenting

                Featured photo credit: Eye for Ebony via unsplash.com

                Reference

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