Help...my kid is a couch potato!

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Childhood obesity has doubled in children over the last three decades and tripled in adolescents during the same period of time. The reasons for this include the way food is cooked (chemicals and fats), portion sizes (they’re way more than we need) the availability and consistency of fast food and junk foods in our diet and the increased inactivity in children. How do we fix this?

Couch potato kid - How to manage time

Is your kid a couch potato?

Helping your kid manage their time better

Children don’t just play anymore like they used to. Think about it…when is the last time you saw a group of children outside playing jump rope or freeze tag? That’s because they were inside watching television or getting their game on-on the Wii.

Get your children outside

Parents often bemoan the fact that their children don’t want to play outside. Well I bet they don’t want to take out the trash, either, but they do, don’t they? Why? Because you insist upon it.

You have to do the same thing with getting your children outside to play. In other words, schedule outdoor time for your children each day; time when they are required to be outside riding bikes, shooting hoops, jumping rope, hula hooping, playing kickball with the neighbors…just outside.

RELATED: Day out with kids: 12 easy outdoor activities

Schedule their television and computer time

There is absolutely nothing wrong with television or the computer-as long as it used as a form of entertainment not the form of entertainment. By scheduling or having more control over the amount of time spent in front of a screen, you’ll also be able to monitor what they are watching/seeing/playing more closely. When scheduling their daily television and computer time, those ‘in the know’ suggest no more than 2 hours per day (not counting time spent on a computer doing homework).

RELATED: Watching television: is it harmful for kids?

Play with your children

Whether it be playing catch in the back yard, hiking in the woods or walking through the park…playing with your children will not only encourage them to be more active, but you’ll be building relationships and creating opportunities for talking and sharing.

RELATED: How important is play to your child?

Set the standard

You know that old saying about the pot and kettle…. Don’t expect your children to be any different than you are when it comes to their take on spending time in front of a screen vs. being active and physically fit. Children learn what they live.

Help them find their niche

Not all children are sports-oriented or of a competitive nature. In other words, soccer or T-ball isn’t for everyone. But just because your children aren’t interested in a team sport doesn’t mean there isn’t a sport out there for them to enjoy. Give them the chance to experience a number of different activities to find the one they like best. Here are a few examples…

  • Swimming
  • Horseback riding
  • Dance
  • Skating
  • Bowling
  • Running
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics

Don’t give up

A child who isn’t used to playing anything that requires more than their hands on a console may not take to the increased activity immediately. But don’t give up! By setting a good example and being insistent (without pushing) on a new and better lifestyle, you’ll be doing your child a favor now and for years to come.

RELATED: Get your kids to exercise!

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Written by

Darla Noble