It seems like you haven't been able to read the news these past few months without reading about the childhood obesity crisis or the onset of child addiction to computer games. I find both worrying as I'm sure many parents do.
Working in schools I see both before my eyes on a daily basis and it is hard to understand how we have reached this point. The fingers of blame are pointed in every direction from lazy parenting to lack of government support right the way through to the children themselves. In my opinion it's time to stop trying find blame and lets get on and solve the problem.
We can't shy away from technology - our children will have this in their lives more than we ever did and they need to understand how to use it but I feel that we owe it to them to review how they use it. I'm all for using it for education but it should not become a replacement for social interaction. Children need to learn the joy, and sometimes heartbreak, of mixing with their peers face to face and not through a screen. The World Health Organisation has now asked healthcare providers across the globe to recognise 'Gaming Addiction' as a medical disorder and those deemed to be suffering with enough severity will be able to get help on the NHS. This seems like a massive change in the lives of children.
Equally worrying are the recent figures from Public Health England stating that 32.4% of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave Primary School. I don't like the label of obese, especially when it comes to children - the connotations of these kind of labels could be deeply troubling in their futures. But, never the less there is a problem. Again, the blame culture is at its best, the government shouldn't have cut funding, the big food companies should be making healthier food, parents need to educate their children - ultimately it is all of our responsibility to help our children to be healthier.
With the summer holidays just about underway, both of these issues could be troubling for parents. A lack of routine could lead to more tech time and more unhealthy snacks. I've compiled a couple of tips and idea to help you through the six weeks and to see if we can start to change these two major issues.
First things first, I know it can be hard to get kids to eat fruit and beg - an apple is just not as appealing as a chocolate biscuit but try some of these swaps and they might just start to like them!
It is unrealistic to expect your kids not to have a treat but remember its everything in moderation and I'm sure they'll soon be asking for the alternatives.
Try to engage your children in cooking and preparing food. I wouldn't expect this all time because we all know life gets in the way but once a week try and cook with your kids, try making your own pizzas and getting them to be creative with the design - maybe a self portrait or an animal face with the vegetables.
GETTING AWAY FROM THE SCREEN AND MORE ACTIVE:
Encourage your children to use their imagination and think of other things to do that involve less screen time. Think back to your own childhood when the batteries had died on your Gameboy - what did you used to do instead?! Build a den, make an obstacle course, ride your bikes to the park or make a scavenger hunt.
Try my Summer Marble Challenge to see if you can change some of these behaviours in your children