When I have free time, I am a homeroom mom for my youngest son. Elementary school is a fun time for kids when they are taught things, and still have fun. Ah, if it could only be that way as an adult – haha! But it’s also fun for me to watch the kids, even for just a little while.
While I don’t get a chance to help out as often as I like, I try to make the most of my time in the school. It’s great seeing the kids interact by talking, learning, and playing. But one of the things I have been most concerned with is with children eating.
On a few occasions I have helped out at lunch and snack time, and it is an eye-opening experience. Now I’m a normal person who likes to have a milkshake, hot fudge sundae or a big old cheeseburger once in a while. For about 90% of the time I try to eat reasonably and nutritiously. I would guess that would put me in the majority of people in the world. However, I am very concerned with some of the eating habits of people, including the youngsters that I see in school. I have noticed that the fitness level of these children are not the best, and unless checked they may be heading to an adulthood of obesity.
I have noticed that the lunches and snacks that the kids have been having at school are not as well balanced and healthy as what I would hope they would have. Proper nutrition for kids is vital for them to have the energy to study and learn. If you feed them a diet of junk food for meals, as well as chocolates and sweets, it is not doing them a favor, and is leading toward obesity.
I’ve tried to teach my kids about the importance of good nutrition, what they should eat and why. The U.S. Department of Agriculture put together a nice page of information about children nutrition. This is a nice source of information that can help teach your children. USDA also put together another good website to help educate parents and children about proper nutrition. Choose My Plate gives information about the four food groups, why they are important and provides food knowledge for different age groups. It also has some educational games and activities to drive home the information.
But nutrition is half the battle to avoiding obesity in children. You need to make sure that children get some exercise. I’m concerned that several of the children that go to school with my kids are not active enough. They seem content to play video games, watch tv and be inactive. While my kids like playing video games and watch tv, they are also very active. Between going outside to play or participating in athletics, they are getting a good amount of exercise. Finding the balance of activity and inactivity is very important and can be a good way to help them be healthy as they get older.
I don’t like to interfere with parenting other kids (goodness knows I have enough to deal with on my own), but there is a lot of good information out on the internet that could help parents getting kids more active. While I would never tell anyone to completely take video games and tv away from kids but getting kids outside for 30 to 60 minutes is better than nothing. One website I found tells parents they should get kids to have 60 minutes of activity per day. Health.gov gives a number of ways to get kids more active including things like walking the dog, swimming, bike riding and more. If you are looking for ways to get your children more active, this may be a helpful site.