School holidays are rife with birthday parties, play dates and trips to the movies. And we all know what that means for children: junk food. All of these fun holiday activities are full of chips, lollies, sausage rolls and party pies. It’s a healthy parent’s nightmare! So what can you do to make sure your kids stay on a healthy path these school holidays?
Don’t buy unhealthy food (even for yourself)
This may sound obvious but it’s easier said than done. It also makes a lot of sense. Keeping unhealthy food in an accessible location leaves it easy for small hands to grab when you’re not looking. Getting rid of it altogether means your kids won’t have any choice but to eat a well-balanced snack. Trust me, children can sniff out chocolate even if it’s kept in your most foolproof hiding spot. Unfortunately this may mean that you need to sacrifice your own late-night snack (or else, keep your food far away from the kitchen).
Ditch the electronics
While TVs and iPads are a great way to keep the kids entertained over the holidays, they also discourage sunshine and exercise. Why not create a rule where the kids can only use screens during certain hours of the day, maybe early in the morning and at dinner time? That way there’s plenty of spare time for them to head outside, and they won’t debate it because they should know the rule!
Grab a friend
Play dates are a great way to encourage physical activity. If you have any friends with kids around the same age, have them over for a barbeque or go on a walk to the park. This is an easy and fun way to get out and about, get some exercise and sunshine, and keep the kids entertained for hours. It also means you get to catch up with your own friends while the kids run around. Just remember that sun safety is also important for healthiness so grab a hat and sunscreen before you head outside.
Holidays are a great time for doing a bit of life admin: updating glasses prescriptions, getting vaccinations and organising dentist appointments are things that all parents need to tick off their lists. Make sure your health insurance is up to date so you can claim back as much as you can. A comprehensive policy with extras cover should allow you to receive some money back for things such as dentistry and optometry.
At the end of the day, it’s important to accept that you’ll never be able to police everything your kids eat. Of course there’s a high likelihood that they’re going to go over to a friend’s house and eat chocolate and lollies. If they feel that you’re interfering too much they may not like it and may even grow resentful, so just take a step back and remember that there are some things you can’t change.
Bessie Hassan is a Money and Insurance Expert at finder.com.au, Australia’s most visited comparison website.