Childhood Obesity, Strategies for Parents.
When my children where very young, I found a book by a man called Rudolf Steiner and while I didn’t understand fully everything he said, something that struck as a truth was this;
“the best gift you can give your children is their childhood”
So we set out to ensure our children got a childhood and unknowingly guaranteed other benefits as well.
I think I am one of the lucky parents. Our children have never been placed into institutionalized care. By that I mean day care or any child care service.
As parents, their father and I decided that we wanted to be the main influence in our children’s life. For us, this meant turning the TV off when the children are around and caring for our children even if it meant we had less materially.
While socially we knew this would be beneficial, it wasn't until later that we recognised the added benefit of having children who know how to play and are active. No childhood obesity in this family.
As I have said, we were fortunate, at the time when our children were little, we both worked shift work and could thus work around each other ensuring a parent was home at all times.
This changed when we separated, but I was still determined to be home with my children so I began looking for alternative ways to earn an income without leaving home. One of the most important steps you can take if you want to be in charge of yours and your family’s life, , and not to be dictated to by the powers that be and a demanding work life, is to choose a way to stay home and still earn an income and have the lifestyle you want.
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Childhood Obesity and Parents Work, How are They Linked?
Don’t get me wrong here, I am not about to launch into blame the parent mode, more, I would like to look at how parents can take back control.
The facts are that most parents work these days, and younger children are placed into day care centres if no other care can be found. A lot of pressure is placed on parents to work. Even the government of today has decided that it is more important for parents to work than to be home for their children.
It is very hard for a parent to listen to what their hearts tell them is right, and follow this, rather than what everyone else says. So our children find themselves in the care of others and/or in front of the TV or computer.
I think it is pretty clear that while our children sit in front of TV and computers they are not being very active. Some children get so pent up with energy by this forced stillness, that they become quite disruptive or aggressive after watching TV or using the computer.
Then there are the advertising companies that openly admit that they target children because they watch more TV than their parents. So, this means children are demanding all sorts of items once rare or the prerogative of adults.
The other problem, both parents working, leads to, is fast food. Tired, over worked parents will be less inclined to cook a meal from scratch and will resort to fast food outlets or prepared meals from the supermarket.
Research has shown that these meals are far from ideal in terms of health benefits and levels of unhealthy ingredients.
So what can tired, over worked parents do in a society that expects so much from them? There is so much pressure on parents to do it all; own the house, have a car, children who have to keep up with the Jones in intellect (school achievement), activities, (especially after school activities) and ensure their children’s safety.
This is what I recommend, because it has worked for us.
1. Turn off the T.V. The easiest way to do this is get rid off it. If you are strong enough limit the T.V to a couple of times a week then that’s fine.
Most parents find this very hard unless you have always been firm on the amount of TV in your home.
Another method that works really well is to hide the TV or have a locked cabinet for it. This is the method I use. Out of sight is out of mind and this works with teenagers as well, to a certain extent.
2. The computer should be treated the same way as the TV. Other devices such as game boys, Nintendo DS etc should be treated as the TV.
3. Be prepared for a messier house because with the TV turned off your children will play with other toys like leggo, train sets, car sets, dolls and build indoor cubby houses. Their imaginations will be unlimited.
4. Join a sport club You can take up a sport that you can do with your children, or be part of. Don’t get caught up in whether they are good or not. Just enjoy the fun and benefits of sport. If you are not into club sport, then be more active as a family. Go for walks, the beach, or just play.
5. Start cooking meals Children over 10yrs can cook a simple meal each week so that the burden is not all on the parents. Prepare meals as a family, with each member having a task; children can make salads from quite a young age. Prepare meals on the weekend. Cook double and freeze the other half for later in the week.
6. Have healthy snack foods like fruit and cut up carrot sticks and celery. Make your own cakes etc and then you can limit the amount of sugar and determine what the ingredients are.
7. Grow your own food a vegetable garden or mini orchard. This has several benefits. First, it is a way to reduce your food bill, so maybe one parent can reduce their hours, secondly you know exactly how your food has been grown, and thirdly gardening is good exercise. Find out more about organic veges gardens at
8. If you find you eat a lot of take away start changing that. Reduce the number of times a week you get take away and aim to only have take away on special occasions.
9. Get the children to walk or ride a bike to school. If safety is an issue, then form a walking bus. This is where one parent or adult will walk with a group of children to and from school. Older children can be encouraged to walk with someone to and from school.
10. Form a group of parents to take turns supervising at the local park so that children can play freely.
11. As I mentioned at the start find a business you can work at from home. MLM or network marketing is ideal as it has low cost set up and a good MLM company provides free training. Building a good website will help you boost your MLM business and allow you to make an income while your core business grows.
12. Lastly follow your heart not the mob. You know that feeling when you leave your child at day care and everyone says, don’t worry he/she will be Ok, and the baby /child is sobbing and begging you not to go. Do what your heart says, don’t listen to anyone else, and feel the peace and contentment and rightness of it. Remember the only expert on your child is you. That is why your child chose you.
The Secrets of Happy Children: by Steve Biddulph
More Secrets of Happy Children: by Steve Biddulph
The Plug in Drug: by Marie Winn
You are Your Childs First Teacher: by Rahima Baldwin
Finally I recommend taking your family on a Fun Health and Wellness Experience.