Do your kids look up to you? Parents* are typically the number one source to their children in terms of healthy living. Children know that their parents are their educators, heroes, role models, and support systems throughout their lives. This is an innate sense that parents can use to help their children live the healthiest lives possible! In most cases, children believe that the actions done by their parents are acceptable; in turn, if a parent is inactive, their child may typically live a sedentary lifestyle. Eating healthily and exercising regularly is a fool-proof way to help your children live their best lives. What steps can parents take to encourage family fitness and healthy habits? Companies like PBS and WebMD have easy, fun ways to get up and moving, as a family!
How much TV time are we talking about?
If you watch cable TV, it’s well-known that commercials take up a huge chunk of our time. Parents can reduce inactivity by using commercials to their advantage! Every time a commercial comes on the screen, try running in place or doing jumping jacks until the show comes back on. Make a game out of it!
Do you think you can dance?
It’s okay to be silly – your children will play along! Turn on some music and dance (this can do more than help your kids. Dancing is one of life’s simpler stress relievers!). Giggles will eventually ensue and will result in super-fun family quality time.
Where do you live?
Where you live can deeply impact your activity levels. Are you in walking distance to any stores or places you can frequent as a family? Taking the time to walk together to the grocery store (if it’s a small trip, no one is Super-Man) or to the library can helpfully combine activity and family time. If you live in a stand-alone suburb, try taking walks and playing games like “I Spy” to make the walk more stimulating!
Winter Fall is Coming
Yard work is a chore, whether you enjoy it or not. Bringing your kids in on the job might make them groan, but you can make it fun! Raking leaves is one of the best, free autumn activities. Rake a pile, jump in it, wrap it in a tarp, and take it to the curb. Those with old trees in their yards know that this can take hours, but the fun is completely worth it!
Family Fitness at the Y
The Harrisburg Area YMCA offers different opportunities for families to work together to acquire a healthy lifestyle. Our West Shore YMCA has a Youth Wellness Center so that your children can get fit while you do, too! The Camp Curtin YMCA has a variety of youth sports that your child can participate in right after school. Our East Shore YMCA offers mentoring programs like Hope In Handball that combines life skills with physical activity.
Coming soon to the YMCA Center for Healthy Living is “Healthy Weight and Your Child,” a program that offers a safe, fun, and active environment for your child (and you!) to explore proven methods to live a healthier lifestyle. Studies have shown that this program is cost-efficient and effective in reducing a child’s BMI and waist circumference, reducing those sedentary behaviors children can often have. This program is intended for children who carry excess weight and are 7-13 years of age. It offers support, education, and activities every session for your family. The Harrisburg Area YMCA offers your family all the steps you need to take part in family fitness, the fun way!
*At the Y, we know families take a variety of forms. As a result, we define parent broadly to include all adults with primary responsibility for raising children, including biological parents, adoptive parents, guardians, stepparents, grandparents, or any other type of parenting relationship.
–Madeline Kelly, Digital Communications Coordinator