Compromising to keep your kids healthy when you don't see eye-to-eye
It can be a constant challenge to make sure your kids have a healthy diet and get regular physical activity. It can be even harder when parents don’t see eye-to-eye on how to strike the right balance.
Anne-Marie, a nutritionist, and Gary, an IT professional, know all about this. They have two kids – four year-old Luci and six-year-old Ollie.
Here Anne-Marie shares her experience and some personal tips on how they work through the issues and keep their kids fit and healthy.
Anne-Marie: I am the nutritionist but Gary is the one who cooks and does the shopping. He is really the one who lays down the law in our house. He is a better communicator than me and is generally more involved with the kids. I don’t tend to communicate as well, especially after I get home from work around 6pm.
Gary and I can’t both be in the kitchen at the same time, otherwise knives would be thrown. So it works well that he cooks while I spend time with the kids.
I like to give my children a small bowl of fruit and vegetables to snack on while they play or watch TV before dinner. This is one major thing that Gary disagrees with, as he feels it ruins their appetite for dinner. However, I insist on this because it means I’m assured that Luci and Ollie get some of the essential nutrients they need everyday.
In regards to physical activity, Gary and I are both committed to keeping the kids active. Luci takes ballet lessons, Ollie attends Nippers (a junior surf life saving program) and we go swimming together. We get active as a family by going to the beach or having picnics in the park on most weekends or whenever possible.
We are fortunate enough to live near the beach and a pool and Gary particularly loves swimming, so this is our primary activity. We work it in three times a week, including Nippers on Sunday. I like the benefits of swimming – it helps the kids to build confidence in the water, is a lot of fun for the whole family and is an activity that we can participate in together.
An additional challenge for us is that our son Ollie has autism. I find that attending Nippers helps him to build social interaction skills, as well as sensory development and awareness.
Despite Gary and I having some differences of opinion, I think the key for us is that we are committed to including good nutrition in our eating as much as possible and we try to make physical activity fun.
Parent tips from Anne-Marie and Gary:
- Make physical activity fun
- Choose an activity the whole family enjoys and can participate in
- Work in fruit and vegies where possible, even as a snack
- Be committed to working in both good nutrition and physical activity for your children.