The Positive Effect of a Strong FIT Area continued...
The family communicates about kid-sized stress. Sarah's parents notice that she seems anxious and in a bad MOOD before school. They offer her suggestions to help her MOVE to burn off some negative energy:
- A morning walk with the dog
- Walking to school
- A quick, active video game
- Stretching with mom
Or Sarah could talk with her parents about her school and home stress and how it puts her in a sad or bad MOOD.
Sarah's parents notice she seems to be eating too much FOOD. They ask her if anything's been troubling her and affecting her MOOD. Realizing that Sarah is winding down from her school day by using food, she and her parents explore together healthier ways for her to RECHARGE. They discuss after-school activities, from dance classes to piano practice, as possible ways to help her relax in a healthier way than eating.
Sarah's parents notice weight gain. Sarah's parents may not recognize the signs of stress and overlook Sarah's down MOOD, but they may take note of her extra weight gain. In response, they could start paying a bit more attention to her FOOD. For instance, they could put healthier after-school snacks within easier reach for Sarah. And they can stop bringing home sugar-sweetened beverages that tempt most kids.
Work Together as a Family
To help children lead fit lives, it's important to not just teach them how to make healthier food choices and encourage them to move more. Parents also need to participate fully by making the same healthy changes in their own lives.
When families work together as a unit, everyone benefits. The key is to start as young as possible. "As a parent, I would start in toddlerhood and early preschool years, thinking proactively about nutrition and activity and being able build that into your family's routine," says Chris Tiongson, MD, a pediatrician with Sanford Health.
If your kids are older and you missed that opportunity, it's not too late. Pick the area from FOOD, MOVE, MOOD, or RECHARGE that you feel the most able to make change in, and focus on making that area even stronger.