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In 7 Strategies to Reverse Childhood Obesity, we discussed how and why kids in the US are following in their parents footsteps of becoming overweight or obese! I also dropped 7 effective strategies for reversing this problem… You can, check it out right here…

The Psychology You Need to Know Behind those 7 Effective Strategies

A natural component to children’s learning is an innate desire to mimic our behaviors. Instead of trying to figure out how to put that dense golden nugget to work for you, you can just read my previous post 7 Effective Strategies for Reversing Childhood Obesity. They’re also great for building a stronger family dynamic and deeper connections with your kids. It wasn’t toooo long ago though when I learned the hard, sweaty truth about losing weight…

You Can’t Outwork a Bad Diet!

Believe me. I tried really, really hard to do this, but it’s impossible…

Unless you’re a genetic freak, scored 1400 on your SAT’s, and were a professional athlete!

Then you can bend the time-space continuum, eat like crap, and still look outwardly healthy and shredded.

But you’ll still be a shriveled up, old raisin on the inside. That’s what happens when you’re uber physically active, but eat terribly. It might take a couple decades, but that shitty lifestyle will catch up with you. You’ll spend as much time in the doctor’s office as you spend wishing you made different decisions on what you put into your mouth.

When I tried this approach, I had a chubby athletic look, with the fat around the midsection, a little in my face, and elsewhere. Eating healthy and staying hydrated is awesome. It puts your kids miles ahead of most their peers. Now if your child’s only exercise includes playing Madden, walking to and from class, or picking up laundry from the floor once a week… We’ve got problems…

I could go super deep into all the reasons why we need to have a holistic balance of physical fitness, nutrition, hydration, and other health supporting activities, but for now, let’s go right to some more effective strategies that build long-term, healthy habits in our offspring.

5 Effective Strategies Reversing Childhood Obesity & Jump Starting Family Activity

1) Take A Hike

Over the hill or through the woods, hiking is a great way to spend quality family time with the kids and get them to open up their minds a bit. Of course, age will play a factor in getting your kids interested and their commitment, but this is a lot easier if they feel involved in the planning of any activity, so just ask them.

Here’s 3 steps of how to guide them back to physical activity…

  1. Call the kids into the kitchen, or where you predominately congregate.
  2. Announce the family activity of going on a hike.
  3. Ask where they would like to go. Provide 3 choices, give them a little background on each location, what they might see, and give them ownership in planning the activity.

This will require a little preparation on your part, but it will increase the value of the entire experience, and make it more enjoyable for everyone. Be sure to show and teach your kids things while on the hike. Kids love learning, so even if you share a story about doing a special activity with your parents, or teaching them something new about nature, this will tremendously increase the value of the activity for the child, make the physical exercise something fun, and something they will want to do again.

The biggest factor is keeping it fun. Putting a smile on your face goes a long way, as discussed in the previous post, and shows your kids that you’re enjoying spending time with them outside.

2) Go To The Park

Who doesn’t love going to the park. Instead of taking a passive role on the bench, participate in your child’s play time, and spark their imagination. I remember playing pretend, organizing games, and racing my brother and friends at the park. I would have been ecstatic if my mom or dad wanted to join in. If your kids are too old to play pretend, bring a soccer ball, football, kickball, play tag, or hide and seek. There’s nothing wrong with climbing up the jungle gym as well, or switching spots by asking your kid to push you on the swing.

It’s all about engagement. Being an active participant will dramatically increase your kids wanting to make it a regular event, as well as helping you grow a much stronger connection, trust, and relationship with your child. Getting active and burning calories is just an added bonus!

3) Go For A Bike Ride

With a smile on your face, invite your kids to join you on a bike ride. If your kids are too young to ride a bike themselves, get a bike child seat, helmet, and get going! Especially when your little ones are too young to ride, if they see you smiling and riding, they will be incredibly excited to get their first bike, learn to ride, and follow you down the street, trail, or sidewalk. A bike is an incredibly valuable investment for your child’s health that may become a lifelong activity they grow to love.

4) Go Skating

This will vary depending on where you live, but head to the roller rink or ice rink for some family skate time! Most decently populated cities have roller rinks and are great, fun ways for children to get active and burn some calories, which isn’t a bad idea for you either. This is a pretty easy to implement strategy for family activity. Since you can rent skates at the rink, all you need to do is show up.

You can surprise your kids by picking them up after school and taking them to the rink. Whether it’s on the ice or wood, work up a sweat, and have a great time. Roller rinks will have various types of games played intermittently. As mentioned previously, join the fun! Your kids will love this and appreciate your involvement. Going to the roller rink is actually what got me wanting to skate on a regular basis… and this was made possible by my parents buying me a pair of roller blades for my birthday in middle school.

5) Go Bowling

Bowling is a fantastic family activity that you’re never too old or young to do. There’s friendly competition, everyone has a designated turn, and bowling together can build family unity. You can quickly bring the family together by competing against yourselves as a whole. Here’s how…

Before starting, suggest the friendly competition and bring your kids into the decision making process. Describe how it will work, but let the family make the ultimate decision. Don’t be afraid to influence their decision, but let the group have the final word. How the competition works… each family member still has their own score, but at the end of the game, all scores are added together to make a combined family score. The goal is to beat the combined family score in the next game. Since everyone is working towards the same goal of a higher family score, everyone is encouraged to cheer on and support each family member as they’re bowling as an individual.

Bowling can be a weekly family event or you can join a league. Just be sure to eat a healthy meal before heading to the bowling alley and don’t be afraid to bring along some healthy snacks. Great options for this would be the snacks mentioned in 7 Effective Strategies for Reversing Childhood Obesity as well as the wildly popular Fried… And Healthy? AL Chicken Nugget Recipe!

What to Do Afterwards?

Regardless of which activity works for your family, it’s time to recharge, refuel, and recap the experience. Break out the cucumbers and avocados to recharge your bodies with healthy and tasty snacks. Highlight the memorable moments you had as well as actively listen to what the kids enjoyed… and then plan your next family outing!

These are just 5 ideas, but whatever you do with your kids, be an active participant, make it fun, and keep that smile on your face. Children have a lot more fun when you are having fun with them and that is the whole point; to make physical activity fun.

Now, who do you know that wouldn’t benefit from more family time? Exactly!

Share this… You might have just changed some lives by doing so
Tooltip TextWhat activities does your family love? Share them in the comments below…

Your partner in jump starting family activity,

Tanner

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