Leading a healthy, active lifestyle means your child will be less inclined to try cigarettes and/or become a smoker. It's harder (but not impossible) to pull couch-potato teens off the couch. It's much easier if you set your family and your kids up early with an engaged, active lifestyle. Here's how it's done.
1) Set Goals
Don't set goals for your kids. Set goals with your kids. By setting and following through on goals for being active, we teach our kids the importance of reaching goals and the ability to make lifestyle changes. These goals can be small too, like replacing junk food with a piece of fruit once a day, or even making a goal to go for a family bike ride once a week. They aren't hard to accomplish but make all the difference.
2) Fun Runs for Charity
What's better than spending the day being active and helping a great cause? Get the entire family moving and sign up for a charity run. The preparation is half the fun and the end goal is a great way to keep everyone motivated. Many charity events offer online training plans or go online to find a simple 5K or 1-mile training plan for kids.
3) Family Park Day
Parks are about much more than picnics. You can hike, canoe, fish, play volleyball, toss the Frisbee, walk the dogs or even go to the local pool for a swim. The important thing is to get outside and get moving. Find special places to be active and your family will want to go all the time.
4) Use Any Excuse to be Active
Take the time every day to do little things to be active. Take the stairs, walk the dog or even park the car a little farther away from the grocery store. It's easy to get into a rut but the path to good health is to get your family moving every day.
5) Limit the TV Time
Television (and other "screens") are a huge time sucks that encourage inactivity. Make a family goal to limit TV time to under an hour a day on weekdays, and two-three on weekends. You'll be amazed how much time you can spend together doing something when you aren't all starring at a screen.
Try one or all of these ideas with your family to get everyone moving. By staying active with your kids, you're promoting a healthy lifestyle away from smoking, drugs and alcohol.
Pioneer educator Dr. Michael Popkin, the longtime spokesman for Lorillard's Youth Smoking Prevention Program, Real Parents, Real Answers, is the founder of Active Parenting Publishers and is the author of many award winning video-based parenting education programs.
An expert in his field, Dr. Popkin earned a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University and has served as Director of Child and Family Services at an Atlanta hospital.