One of the most important things we can do as parents is to encourage our children to make healthy choices — both now and in the future. It’s a top priority that they develop good habits today so that they can grow up to be healthy adults tomorrow. Since children watch how their parents go about life, it’s up to us to be consistent role models because showing them is more powerful than telling them.
ReadCountCraft knows being a “perfect parent” isn’t possible, but the journey also isn’t entirely intuitive. To help you along, here are some essential tips for parents who want to model good behavior and choices for their children.
Have Healthy Foods on Hand
Just like adults, kids will often eat what is tasty and convenient. That means that when you have healthy options in the home, they will be more likely to eat healthfully. Strategize your grocery list with your child in mind, and allow them to choose from a few different healthy meals and snacks. While the home is the first order of business, it’s also important to take this philosophy outside the home as well. For instance, instead of relying on drive-thru and gas station snacks, consider packing fruits, nuts, pretzels, and other nutritious foods for the times you’re on the go.
Exercise is critical for people of all ages. If your child sees you exercising, they will be more likely to adopt that habit and carry it into their adult years. Along with setting an example with your own fitness routine, Parents suggests finding fun ways for the whole family to get in some physical activity together. It could be biking, swimming, hiking, or anything else that provides a good workout.
Don the Safety Gear
Children watch what their parents do, even when it comes to simple but significant things like safety precautions. If you go biking, for instance, be sure to wear a helmet. If you go out on a boat or jet ski, wear a life vest. Every time you drive somewhere, wear your seat belt. Do anything you can to model what it’s like to practice safety as a grown up.
Have Quality Conversations
Though leading by example is the most effective way to teach your child how to make healthy choices, it also helps to keep a steady flow of quality conversations going. LiveScience says to talk honestly about the awkward topics such as sex, drugs, and alcohol, and clarify your views and expectations on each matter. Also, talk with them regularly about friends, school, interests, and anything else that helps you to stay connected and strengthens your relationship.
Show Them How to Handle Stress
Last but not least: remember that your child is watching you when you are going through a hard time. How you deal with stress can profoundly affect how they deal with it when they are adults. If you turn to drugs or alcohol to alleviate your worries, your child is more likely to do the same some day. If you tend to lose your cool and lash out randomly, they will learn that as well. Instead, opt for healthier options like exercise, hobbies and/or deep breathing.
Ready to Get Back to It?
Parenting can be like coming up on a traffic jam — we hit the brakes on life! But some of the most powerful lessons our children learn will be from seeing our example. Every parent wants their kids to get off to a good start in life and that means giving them permission to pursue their dreams, but also pursuing our dreams ourselves.
One of the most essential parts of being a parent is setting a good example for your child. Model good dieting and always keep healthy foods accessible, and show them how exercise can benefit their well-being. Wear safety gear whenever necessary, and keep an open line of communication going. Finally, lead them by demonstrating healthy ways to deal with stress.
ReadCountCraft is all about supporting families. For learning opportunities, ideas and inspirations that empower you and your kids towards a healthier and happier life, be sure to connect!
Photo Credit: Pexels