How to Keep Kids Fit and Happy!

by Paula | August 16, 2013 1:10 am

Parenting is a challenge at any age and for many reasons.  Education, scheduling, social media issues, discipline and health issues create constant challenges and drama for all those involved.  With the school year beginning, how can you streamline your mornings, schedules and lifestyle issues for everyone’s mental and physical health?  Lets work together in the Paula’s Healthy Living Community to create good tips and ideas that can support us all.
My daughter is off to college in Colorado and my sons are beginning middle school and fourth grade.  My son’s schools’ start and end times are different and in different buildings.  The bus issue is a challenge due to location.  Same story, different details as many of you. Here are some time savers/brain savers:
1.  Make Your Family Your Priority.  Being super-Mom, star-employee, sexy-wife and community-leader is a tough bill to fill.  Sometimes you have to say “no”. No, I can’t take your child to soccer.  No, I can’t go to that meeting on Sunday night.  No, I can’t host that party for your friends this week.  It’s okay to decline this once to make sure you have a meal with your family.  Your stress level will be reduced, and you will do all those jobs better next time.
2.  Keep Your Family Moving.  From  the youngest to the the oldest (including your parents), regular participation in daily activities including walks, sports, yoga, and fun keeps stress down, weight more manageable,  and health issues better managed.
3. Eat Whole, Healthy Foods.  Processed foods have extended shelf life because they are loaded with added sugars, salt, hydrogenated fats and preservatives.  If you can’t pronounce the ingredients or don”t know what they are, steer away from them.  Shop the perimeter aisles of the grocery store where they sell fresh produce, vegetables, meats and dairy.  A healthier meal plan and regular small meals with healthy snacks,  will allow your  children to better focus at school and keep everyone from feeling hungry mid-day.
4.  Get Your Shut-Eye.  Good sleep is essential for growing kids and will allow you to be more productive and focused at work.  Create rituals that allow everyone to de-compress.  Turn off the TV, computers, and electronic media.  Take a warm bath, listen to music or use a noise machine to turn off the outside world, and rest.
5.  Create a morning To Do Board.  Be explicit, clearly highlighting what jobs need to be done by what time to get out the door with less chaos.  Our board has  1. Up by 7am. 2. Brush teeth. 3. Put dirty clothes in hamper  4. Eat breakfast, cleaning your own dishes  5.Pack snack and backpack 6. Kiss Mom/Dad 7. Get a hat  .  Seems controlling, but it greatly reduces the yelling, reminding, frustration of our morning routine which reduces everyone’s stress.

Cortisol is the stress hormone that is released as a self-defense mechanism for the body.  But, when levels are constantly high, it can lead to a host of health issues and weight gain.  Do what you can to reduce it, and  start your new school year off on the right foot.

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