As parents, we only want the very best for our children. We want to ensure that they grow up big and strong and live a life where they prioritize physical and mental health. Some parents might struggle with how to teach their kids the healthy habits that they will need to enjoy a well-lived life even after they move out, but you can do it.
The trick to teaching young children about self-care is to make it fun and interesting. Instead of just telling them what to do, incorporate these lessons into everyday life so they can see what health looks like. To help you out, we have composed this list of ways that you can instill healthy habits in your children.
Lead By Example
While you can tell your kids what they should be doing to stay healthy until you are blue in the face, if you say one thing but do another, then you probably won’t get through to them. Instead, you need to lead by example. So, if you tell your kids that they need to eat their vegetables, but you have fast food every night, then they are more likely to want the burger. That goes for your habits as well. When you have kids, you should not smoke, drink, or splurge in other dangerous ways, or your kids will probably follow in your footsteps.
You also need to watch the words that you say. If you constantly walk around the house saying how fat or out of shape you are, then that could rub off on your kids in a negative way. Instead, you should use positive body language. Remind them that all bodies are shaped differently, and even though we don’t want to become obese, it is okay if we are not perfect in every way. We do not want to teach them to have a negative body image.
It is important to remember that instilling healthy habits in your children is the job of both parents, even if the whole family doesn’t live in the same house. If you co-parent with someone else, then you both need to communicate and stay on the same page. Your child should have the same healthy experience no matter what roof they are under.
One of the most important cornerstones of a healthy life is to eat a proper diet. Tell your kids about the benefits of a balanced diet. Not only does eating a mix of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy lead to a healthy body, but by eating the right things, we can also prevent injury and disease. For instance, certain foods like carrots, kale, and fish are necessary for maintaining healthy eyes. Remind your kids that they only have that one set of eyes and many years to use them, so it is important to keep them strong and sharp.
You can teach your kids a lot about healthy eating by involving them in the kitchen. Have them help you prepare dinner, and every time you pick out a new ingredient, tell them why it is healthy and what part of the body it helps. When pulling out packages or cans of food, you can show them the labels and tell them which ingredients are good and which should only be consumed in moderation.
A great way to keep the kids occupied and teach them about proper nutrition is to have them help you to plan and grow a garden. You can have a blast as you take your children to the gardening store, have them pick out the vegetables they want to grow, plant the seeds and watch in amazement as those seeds turn into healthy plants. Then, when the food is ready, allow them to pick the vegetables and bring some of the food they made to school for lunch. Watching something grow seemingly from nothing is an amazing experience and it is great for their mental health, so consider growing a garden this summer.
Encourage Them To Get Active
In addition to a healthy diet, your children also need to learn the benefits of physical fitness and the necessity of getting around outside. It is important to teach kids the value of fitness early on because if they sit around all day looking at electronics now, then they will probably continue that behavior as they grow older. Getting your kids outside might seem difficult, but you just need to make it fun.
At a minimum, you can get your kids excited about exercise by putting them into a sport or just playing in the backyard. From football and baseball to tennis and volleyball, the sky’s the limit for potential activities, and even if your children don’t want to play competitively, just the act of running around can burn calories, and your kids may want to do it day after day. Remember to not force your kids into an activity that they are not comfortable with. You can let them explore healthy habits on their own terms just as long as they give it a try.
You can also encourage your kids to get active by going out and doing fun family activities like playing at the park or taking a family bike ride. Camping is another great way to try many physical activities, from hiking to fishing, and in the process, you will make memories that the kids will remember forever. If your children enjoy these activities, then they might grow up and do them with their own families, and the cycle of healthy living will continue through the generations.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can instill healthy habits in your children. You just need to use a little imagination. Consider the tips mentioned here, and you will have fit and happy kids.