Nicole - Planning With Kids
As a mother, what's an activity you choose for your kids to keep fit?
We have a big dog who needs regular walking, so the younger two kids and I walk her to school together everyday - only if it is raining do we not walk. It is 1.5km walk to school, so a good distance. On the weekend the younger three kids and I take her for a run around the block. Some kids will run with me or they will ride their bikes or scooters.
My teenage boys frequently head to their dad's footy training (he still plays local AFL footy) and then on Saturdays they run the boundary and do water boy for two games.
If your children could choose dinner, what would it be? What would your healthy choice for dinner be?
Tacos. I make my own seasoning and they love this meal I think mainly because they get to put exactly what they like into each of their tacos. As for my choice for a quick healthy school night dinner I would choose something like my chicken, ginger, cashew stir fry. It is light and tasty, full of fresh veggies and herbs.
What's something you think is important towards supporting a child's emotional development?
Providing a space for them to express themselves and practice problem solving skills. We have after dinner chat time where we will often discuss issues and all of the kids are encouraged to enter the conversation. We also have family meetings which we use to resolve key family issues and share information. If kids have a problem with something, they can bring it up at the family meeting, but they cannot just complain they must also have a suggested solution.
This empowers the kids to know they have some influence on the goings on in the house and teaches them to be solution focused.
What would be your very first and simple tip for parents who want to become more organised in their family life?
The first thing I started with was menu planning and I encourage this as the first planning task for parents who are wanting to organise family life more. It is a simple task to do and it has much broader impact than just on the food the family eats. It saves time as you aren't running to the shops as often, which also saves money as you aren't tempted to buy so many extras and it saves stress as you can plan meals to fit around the activities of the family.
Best parenting tip for Healthy Fit Kids you can pass on?
Allow kids to do for themselves what they are capable of. Teach them independence skills,like packing their own school bag, making their lunches, doing household tasks. When they are little this can seem to take longer than if you did it yourself, but they get better and quicker at them the more they do them. Being able to do things for themselves is a great way to build their confidence and self esteem. It also encourages them to try hard tasks, knowing that they have tried and failed at tasks before, but eventually get them.
With my kids ranging from 7 to 17 now, I am reaping the benefits of this as they get themselves ready in the morning and I can spend more time talking with them and interacting with them and not just doing for them.