What does the New Year mean to you. For kids it often means no more than a dearth of presents until their birthday and an end to eating chocolate for breakfast. For the young, full of the joys of life, the change from 2012 to 2013 isn't so much an arbitrary date to change their lifestyles as it it for us more bitter adults. However, this is a perfect time for parents to instill this concept of refreshing, developing and making changes, especially when it comes to activities and a healthy lifestyle for the year, and indeed years, ahead.
Few parents tell their kids about their New Year resolutions and life changing plans.And why should they? This tradition is of no relevance to youngsters, who should by rights, enjoy carefree lives. However, if you bring about the idea of renewal in the right way it can give children of all ages a chance to take control of their lives in a positive way.
- Fun not fretful - while you might be feeling a sense of gloom and doom about the lifestyle changes you need to make, there's no reason that your kids should feel the same. In fact, their enthusiasm might even rub off on you too. Find age-appropriate ways of talking about new beginnings and making plans. This might be through a journal or a visual wall chart or through an exciting activity. Adding in new activities into their plans can be fun for kids.
- Develop sense of awareness - chatting about different activities that youngsters can do and making plans and schedules makes ideas more tangible. Your children can get a better sense of what they like to do and what they would like to try in the future. This can help raise confidence levels and ensure that feelings of worth and self-awareness develop.
- Ambition and aims - making plans isn't just something that adults do. Of course you don't want to put pressure on a child so that he or she feels stressed-out or full of anxiety about meeting any demands. However, encouraging the idea of activity goals and working toward these can have far reaching effects in every part of children's lives.
- Guilt-free - when getting kids to see the New Year as a fresh start and a chance to make some changes in their life, the approach should be forward thinking and positive. It's counter-intuitive to expect guilt to encourage your child to evolve. It's not about what they haven't done but the interesting times ahead. This is really important when dealing with overweight or obese kids who might be sensitive about their size and already have feelings of shame and guilt.
- Understanding health and fitness - years ago parents never really talked to their kids about diet and nutrition or how important it is to keep healthy. Having said that, years ago children were more likely to be climbing a rope swing than climbing to another level on the latest video game, and junk food was a rare treat.. As part of your fresh-start approach get youngsters interested in health and fitness without lecturing them. Fun facts, trivia and discussions help so do your research.
Are you interested in helping your kids make 2013 a healthier, more active year? Perhaps you are a parent or involved in a children's group. Drop us a line and we can get the ball rolling and the kids moving.