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If you want your kids to be healthier and thinner, there’s an everyday activity you both have to do more of. And it isn’t exercise.
You and your children have to get more sleep.
“Parents should make being well rested a family value and a priority. Sleep routines in a family affect all the members of the household, not just children; we know that parents won’t get a good night’s sleep unless and until their preschool children are sleeping,” says researcher Barbara H. Fiese, director of the University of Illinois’ Family Resiliency Center and Pampered Chef Endowed Chair.
The effects of lack of sleep go beyond feeling well rested. Research shows that parents and kids gain weight when the family skimps on sleep.
Fiese says you should limit limit your children’s exposure to TV and other electronic devices to two hours a day. Turn them all off 30 minutes before bedtime. Spend time in a calming, predictable routine. Make sure preschoolers are in bed in time to get 10 hours of sleep a night.
Parents should follow a calming routine themselves.
“We’re learning more and more about how important it is to unplug for a half-hour or so before we go to bed. At a certain time, turn off your electronic devices — even e-books — and engage in whatever soothing ritual helps you to relax enough to sleep,” says Fiese.