Practical Tips

Tips for better eating habits

A child needs structure, also at the table. Make clear agreements about where and how much it eats. Three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and two snacks a day are ideal. You eat preferably at regular intervals and at fixed locations.

  • Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
  • Provide a healthy lunch for school (e.g. a salad or slices of tomato on bread) and always put fruit in the satchel.
  • Prefer healthy snacks such as fruit or raw vegetables.
  • Make sure your child regularly drinks water during the day.
  • Sweets from time to time are okay, but make arrangements with your child.
  • Determine portion sizes (e.g. a weighed jar of crisps instead of a complete bag on a birthday party, only on Wednesday).
  • Do not use food as a reward or punishment.
  • Try to prevent your child from getting bored, this encourages eating.
  • Involve your child when preparing healthy meals (e.g. making a fruit salad together, cleaning vegetables together).
  • Always eat at a fixed time and at the table.
  • Do not do other things while eating such as watching TV, playing games or reading.
  • Make every meal a family happening.
  • Healthy food does not need to be boring. Use your creativity to present food in an attractive way with nice colours, shapes, flavours, smells, etc…
  • Let your child discover new tastes. Getting acquainted with new nutrients is important to develop a healthy and varied food pattern.

Tips for more exercise

Why is it so good to exercise regularly?

  • Exercise results in the better functioning of your child’s body systems (digestion, mobility system, etc).
  • Exercise helps makes your child fit and ensures that their physical condition keeps on improving.
  • Exercise stimulates the physical and mental development of your child.
  • Sports and exercise improve the body composition: it converts fat to muscle mass.
  • Exercise is not only strenuous, but it can also be  relaxing.

Everyone under the age of 18 should be physically engaged for at least one hour every day.

When making moderate physical efforts, your child will breathe a bit deeper and faster than normal, as for example when walking, cycling, swimming, etc. This exercise need not last for a whole hour, but can be spread throughout the day. This way you can, for example, cycle 2 times for 15 minutes and walk 3 times for 10 minutes. Of course it is always allowed to exercise more!

Tips for more exercise

  • Integrate exercise into daily life : during school, trips, at home and during leisure activities. Let your child, for example, walk to school or go by bicycle, take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
  • Encourage  your child to play outside with a ball, skipping-rope, roller skates, etc.
  • Try to exercise together regularly: e.g. go swimming, walking, cycling, etc.
  • Find a sport your child likes and motivate membership in a sports club or participation in school sports.
  • If your child wants to, you can enrol them in a youth movement.
  • Avoid periods of sitting still for a long time, interrupt regularly with a moment of exercise.
  • Make an agreement with your child on how long he/she can watch screens: tv or computer.
  • Be active parents so your child has a positive role model. The best thing to do is not to limit exercise only to sports, but also to integrate physical activity into daily life.
  • If you experience problems in getting your child to exercise regularly, a mobility therapist can help you. He/she will set up an adapted exercise program for you and your child.

And always applicable:

The importance of reward instead of punishment: do not reward with food and do not punish by taking away a sports activity or by obliging them to exercise.

Support your child in the (sports)activities they wants to undertake (go to and from the sports lesson with them, provide material, try to watch them from time to time…)