Are you making the 3 most common mistakes with your kids?

These 3 mistakes can cost your kids their health.  It might seem pretty simple, but because you are on this list, you are in the know!  Its difficult to sort out what information is valid and what is not these days.  Marketing hype is at an all time high, especially when it comes to two subjects: kids and health. 

Here is the truth: no hype or BS.  These are the 3 biggest mistakes people make with their kids’ health and what you should really do:

#1.  Do you offer your kids gatorade before, during or after sports? 
This is a big marketing pitfall.  Gatorade and simlar drinks are full of artificial colors, flavors, and sugar–way more than they need of sugar and “electrolytes”.  Drinking these products even occasionally can  cause weight gain in a lot of kids, especially if they start at an early age.   

solutions: 

  • if you are worried about electrolyte balance,purchase natural hydration drinks like coconut water, hoist (a new product), or water. 
  • Water is the best, easiest solution
  • If all that’s available is a gatorade-type drink, cut it in half or more with water.  They probably won’t know the difference.
  • Avoid artifical colors in all foods, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucrolose, and acesulfame K.
  • Read the labels!  If you don’t know what it is, don’t give it to them.
  • If there is an excessive amount of sugar or the Total Carbohydrates are higher than 15, its like drinking soda.  

#2.  Most parents don’t know how to talk to their kids about weight.  Whether your kid is overweight or not, this is a very hot topic, especially among teens and tweens.  Do you leave magazines around that have a lot of headlines about losing weight or being “skinny?”  Kids pick up on this at an early age, around 8 or 9 years old, when they are becoming aware of their bodies and that they are starting to change.  They will internalize these messages even if we don’t talk about it with them.  There is no doubt that this is a touchy subject.  It can conjure up a lot of emotions for parents and kids.  If you need help, consult your pediatrician, or a psychologist who specializes in body image.

solutions:

  • If your child has a weight issue or is just bigger than other kids her age, talk to her about it.  Don’t ignore it.  She or he knows that they are bigger than the other kids and probably already feels self conscious about it, but doesn’t know what to do. 
  • Talk in terms of “health”, versus fat or skinny.  Even adults should refer to weight this way.   Talk about what is healthy, what is unhealthy, and why its important to you.
  • Emphasize that everyone comes in different shapes and sizes, that there are some things that we can control, like what we eat (healthy or unhealthy choices) and how we choose to spend our time (exercise, or sedentary activities), and some things we can’t control (how tall we are, how easily we gain weight, etc). 
  • Reference images in magazines and on TV as unrealistic.  Be honest about how women are portrayed in the media and express your opinion about it.  It can be very empowering for a young woman to know that its unrealistic and unnecessary to compare herself to what is in the media. 

#3. Does your teen work out with you?  Do you do the machine circuit at the gym together?  While this may be a great bonding experience, having kids work out on machines is not a great way to teach them about conditioning.  I know this really goes against the grain for some, but this is old school.  Here is what you could be doing:

  • Engage in real movement.  Our bodies move in amazing different ways, working the whole body all together.  We should condition our bodies this way too.  This is called “functional movement.”
  • Let them play like kids.  Playing on the playground is very beneficial for overall skill development and mental let down from the stresses of life.  This is extremely important for kids today.
  • Ride bikes together, swim laps, run around the block, if you want to engage them in some more traditional exercises.  I love these exercises because they are things that they can do for the rest of their lives. 
  • Teach them how to use gym equipment at all ages.  The old precaution of not lifting weights before age 13 has banned younger kids from the gym.  Its true–kids can get hurt (at any age) if they don’t use equipment properly.  However, kids can toss a 4 lb medicine ball, stand or even jump on the bosu, learn how to engage their core muscles with planks, do pull ups, and lunges. 

Did you see yourself in this article?  Did this help you?  Please leave a comment!! 

Thanks and  be well…Elyse

 

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