Concerns about children’s obesity seem to be on everyone’s mind these days. Kudos to First Lady Michelle Obama for making it ‘her’ issue and walking the talk with her White House garden and obviously healthy/active girls! There was also a great article in the Pediatric Safety blog about the latest research on how to curb obesity in children. (http://www.pediatricsafety.net/index.php?s=obesity). Easier than you’d think – eat with your family, decrease TV time, get more sleep. And of course all of those things have knock-on effects as well. Loads of research showing that kids who eat with their families at least a few meals a week are less likely to get into drugs/alcohol. Less TV and more sleep – better performance in school. I read a study recently that showed that if kids had 45 minutes of active time during the school day (gym or recess), the incidence of ‘disruptive/bad’ behavior dropped by 60%.
Like most things with raising kids, we’re all trying our best, but some things are easier than others. For me – eating with family – easy, I love my food and dinner is the only time I get to sit down, not about to give that one up! Early bedtime – slam dunk – after 7pm my parenting abilities slide rapidly into the negative numbers, best to have them safely tucked in before my patience gives way completely. Other stuff – not so easy. I almost lost it completely when someone gave my son a tadpole. I really thought that adding one more living creature to my list of responsibilities would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I tried, and I did feel a wee bit of guilt when it didn’t develop and died, but in my life, science experiments need to happen without my input.
The research does remind me that I need to I stick to that one hour per day of electronic time for kids. Too easy to flick a switch to get silence when I need to do a work call, tackle that never-ending mountain of paperwork or it’s just been a long winter. That said, better to flick the switch some days and give the kids a treat than lose it – after all parenting is a long-haul occupation, best to know when to stand on principle and when the principle comes at too high of a personal cost!