Family health

Healthy Family Challenge: The big picture

Karine shares her experiences with the Healthy Family Challenge so far — and encourages other families to get involved.

By Karine Ewart
Healthy Family Challenge: The big picture

Photo: Spotmatik/iStockphoto

10:00 p.m. on Tuesday night.

I just got off the phone with my oldest and dearest friend, Helene. We met in 1993 (good golly, 20 years ago?!). Our paths crossed when I moved to Montreal to finish my BA and be closer to my then-boyfriend Jay. (Jay and I like to take credit for Helene meeting her husband of 12 years. Long story short: Roger and Jay were fraternity brothers at McGill University, Helene and I met through mutual friends and the rest is history. Helene and Roger still live in Montreal and are now parents to two beautiful girls, Mya,10, and Margot, 8.)

We chatted about the Today’s Parent Healthy Family Challenge (in partnership with Quaker) and how we all share the same goal: To try to raise our kids with an awareness about living an active, healthy lifestyle. Like many families, Helene and Roger both work full time, so our conversation turned to how difficult it is to fit everything in. That's when I realized, once again, that this is exactly why we created the #TPChallenge in the first place! It's all about finding a way to include healthy choices in the areas of nutrition and activities, but it is also about having fun together as a family.

And despite having very similar goals, Helene and her family have taken a very different approach to this than we have.

At our house, our four children are involved in organized sports all year long (hockey, soccer, dance, swimming, etc.) and we are often going in different directions to get them to their games and competitions. We love it: the early morning wakeup calls, the dressing room preparation, the celebrations/consolations afterward, weekends away, the relationships with other families on the team, etc.

On the other end of the spectrum, Helene and Roger rent a small condo in Mount Tremblant where they spend every weekend between January and April skiing together. During the summer, the four of them spend a few weeks together at family and friends' cottages, doing water sports and spending time outdoors.

While I often think, “Wow! They have it right: quality time together, no rushed schedules and they decompress as a family, together,” I also know that what we are both doing what's best for our families — and what works for us may not work for everyone! (Although I must admit, I'd like to explore this cottage thing!)

I know you have probably heard me say this before, but the Healthy Family Challenge isn't about organized sports, or renting a condo at a ski resort. It's honestly about figuring out a way to take little steps towards having more family fun and teaching our kids about healthy living. With fast and easy daily recommended activities, you get to stop the world and take a mini vacation with your kids every day! And hopefully that will reveal larger ideas as to how you really enjoy spending time together. Of course, the big dream is that we will unite as a nation, and change the future of all Canadian families. (I know that all sounds a bit cheesy, but as Helene will tell you, that’s me!)

Which is why I truly hope you'll take the Today’s Parent Healthy Family Challenge pledge with us. At last count, almost 7,000 people have already signed up. We'd love to have you join us.

P.S. As always, I am curious: How do you make time for physical activities with your kids?

This article was originally published on Mar 22, 2013

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