Letís make growing up fun

Balancing nutritional needs, adequate rest and replacing the word 'exercise' with 'activities' can bring a lot of enjoyment into growing up

You know how important exercising is for kids but are they ready to do it your way? Will they agree to go through your boring gym routine? Most probably not. What do you do then? India's leading holistic health guru Mickey Mehta says, "First of all it is important to switch the word 'exercise' with 'activity' and then make it interesting and fun for kids."

Daily activity:
Fast-walking, jogging etc., work very well for kids and can be easily incorporated into their hectic daily lives. "Simple things like asking your child to take the stairs instead of the lift can work wonders," says Sunandita D, mother of a growing child.

Open up:
After being confined to classrooms and travelling to and from schools for a major part of the day, children need to go out to open spaces. Games like chain, lock and key, catching the crook, kho-kho, kabbadi, tug-of-war, hide and seek, hoola hoops etc. can probably do more for them than your gym can. Kids should be taken to water bodies for swimming, rowing and water sports. "Their games should create a sense of excitement and non-aggressive competition - boot camp games like crawling on forearms, duck walking, getting into a gunny bag and then hopping a distance works well for kids," he adds.

Rest right:
Children grow during sleep and it is important that they sleep for more than seven to eight hours say pediatricians. The 'early to bed' part is especially necessary. With demanding school hours, tuition classes, extra-curricular activity classes, they are drained and should be encouraged to sleep early rather than watch television till late in the night.

Nutrition needs:
Along with exercising and activities you should make sure that your child has nutritious, wholesome food, says nutritionist Deepshikha Agarwal. "Kids do not eat the necessary amount of food most of the time, so it is essential to give them calorie-dense food so that they get required nutrition. Give them food while they are on the run - like salted almonds, walnuts and pistachios. Unsalted ones may not tempt kids much."

Deepshikha feels that food should always be within reach for kids. She says, "Always keep fruits on the table or counters, instead of fried and junk food packets. Keep flaxseed around in their bedroom; that will encourage them to snack on it instead of having chocolates or empty calories."

Breakfast well:
Making your kids eat a healthy breakfast is important. Mickey says, "If parents think that giving them a bowl of milk and cereal is enough then they are wrong. Wholesome breakfast should include bananas, upma and poha, dates, figs, and stuffed parathas."

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