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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

  This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.

Healthy Habit 7: Choose to make sleep more important.

Studies have found that a lack of sleep is associated with weight gain. When you don't get enough sleep, changes in hormones and metabolism seem to increase the risk of obesity.

To raise healthy kids, enforce a routine bedtime. You can make the transition easier by trying to make the time before bed relaxing. A helpful way to do this is to remove distractions from your child's bedroom -- including TVs, cell phones, and computers.

Sticking with the same routine even on the weekends can help eliminate fluctuations in mood from fatigue and avoid that Monday-morning angst from struggling to get back on schedule.

Bedtime may get harder with teens. As kids hit adolescence, their body clocks reset, and they become biologically wired to stay up late. Because high school starts so early, many teens are chronically overtired and at higher risk of obesity as a result.

As a parent, the best you can do is to work with your teen to encourage healthy sleep habits before bed. Help him see just how much better he feels when he does get enough sleep and how much easier it is to concentrate in school.

A healthy amount of sleep helps reduce the risk of obesity in adults too. So prioritize sleep accordingly to set a healthy example for your family.

Healthy Habit 8: Choose to be consistent about family health.

Consult with an expert -- such as a dietitian, pediatrician, or childhood weight loss expert -- to adopt basic, sensible changes to your family's diet and exercise routine and to help you put those changes in place.

If, after a few months, you don't think these new healthy habits are helping -- for instance, your child has been gaining weight -- check in again with your expert and tweak your family's plan.

The most important way to help your family adopt healthy habits is to stick to your plan. Stay consistent: about the foods you have in the house, about family exercise routines, and about bedtime.

If you do, your kids are more likely to accept rules in the long run. If they sense any hesitation on your part, they're more likely to argue and push back. With persistence, you will be able to help kids adopt healthy habits, and they will benefit for the rest of their lives.

 

For Kids and Parents. Kid Tested. Expert Approved.
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