As a nanny, you're responsible for the children while they're in your charge. This includes everything from preparing meals to making sure they get enough activity throughout the day. There are many ways you can encourage a child to become more physically active throughout his or her day.
1. Spend Time in the Great Outdoors - Instead of being glued to a television set and playing game consoles, a great deal of fun can be had outside. With an open green space, kids tend to start moving with little or no prompting. To make outdoor time even more fun:
Go on a nature walk with pads of paper for keeping a journal about the various creatures you come across.
Take the children to nearby historical points-of-interest and share with them why that particular area is so important.
Try to get a pick-up game going of various sporting activities with other local children.
Encourage the kids to come up with games and activities to do outside.
Visit a playground or open green space.
Make a habit of spending time being active outdoors each day. The more you incorporate being outdoors into your daily routine, the more the kids are likely to embrace it.
2. Prepare Healthy Meals - Armed with a good cookbook, you can develop a wide range of healthier meals that can support a fit lifestyle. Involve the children to help in its preparation all the while teaching them the value of eating healthier foods. Break foods into all the time, sometimes and special treat categories to help children learn to make healthy choices. Remember, children are more responsive to most activities if you can make learning interactive. Grow some herbs in a window box, visit a local farmer’s market for fresh produce, and have the kids help out in the kitchen to boost their interest and involvement.
3. Serve Up Healthy Snacks - Instead of sugar-loaded snacks, offer up more natural sweets such as fresh fruits and veggies. Doing so will only help curb a sweet tooth, but the children can get the vitamins and minerals they need for physical development. Set aside a drawer in the refrigerator where healthy snacks are stored and allow the kids to choose whatever they want from the snack bin when it’s time for a snack to eliminate snack time struggles.
4. Competition and Goals –Some kids respond to competition and others don’t. It’s important to know if competition motivates or stifles the children in your care. If a child thrives off of competition, having a backyard race against his nanny will prove to be lots of fun. If the child tends to shy away from it, have him set his own fitness challenges and encourage him meet them head on. Help each child set their own fitness goals and provide them with opportunity and encouragement to reach them.
6. Exercise Routine - Of course you can always develop an exercise routine that you and the children can do together. Remember, children are more apt to join in an activity that you are willing to participate in too. After all, how can you expect a child to do something you are unwilling to do yourself? As long as you participate in the activity, the children will surely follow - or at least be more receptive to the idea. A backyard game of freeze dance anyone?
Encouraging fitness doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you can find out what activities the kids truly love. If a child watches gymnastics with wide-eyes and a sense of wonder, perhaps enrolling her in a gymnastics class would be a great way to boost her fitness. If he’s interested in nature, going on daily trail walks may be his ticket to staying fit. By getting kids active early you can help to start a lifelong trend that they’ll be sure to thank you for later.
With over 20 years of experience in the nanny world as an award-winning nanny, agency director, and parenting author, Michelle LaRowe is considered a leading industry expert. A mom herself, she loves to educate parents and nannies on the importance of quality in-home childcare. Find out more by visiting https://twitter.com/eNannySource on Twitter.