Leading by example is one of the best ways parents can create healthy habits for children. If we want our children to develop healthy habits, we have to lead a lifestyle the whole family is involved in.
How to create healthy habits for children:
Turn the TV off – children tend to sit in front of the tv as long as their parents will allow. This can go on for literally hours, day after day. Inactivity can lead to obesity in children since they tend to eat and drink while watching tv. Obesity can lead to health problems later in life and even at a tender age. Have rules set for how much tv viewing is allowed and start this as soon as your children are old enough to watch tv?
Share meals – meals aren’t just for eating, but for sharing family time together. You can greatly influence a child’s life by leaving the fast-paced world behind long enough to sit with them and enjoy a meal. If a child sees you running around like a chicken with its head cut off all day and never sitting down to share these precious moments, they may pick up your habits. This is a perfect opportunity to find out about their day and what they are experiencing. In the process and by example, you can teach them about health and nutrition and how it affects their body.
Get Physical – children should be encouraged to be physically active from an early age. A sedentary lifestyle in children can start a lifetime habit of being sedentary. Activities don’t have to be dreaded. There are many fun things to do that children will be enthused. Being physically active won’t be a chore. With patience and experimenting, you can find out what suits your child best. Sharing these activities with your children is even better and will encourage them more.
Building confidence – when a child feels good about themselves, they are inclined to take better care of themselves, which in turn, leads to better health. Children sometimes turn to food for comfort when they are stressed or feel bad about themselves. Food becomes the friend they can count on. Instil a positive, but not arrogant, image in your child. Help them to believe in themselves and always be a trusted and guiding force. Make them feel loved…always.
Don’t use food inappropriately – food is often used as a reward or a pacifier for children. In balance, this can be appropriate, but overdoing it can lead to expecting food under certain conditions that isn’t appropriate. Find ways of rewarding your child outside of food. Help them to learn ways of pacifying themselves without food being involved.
As a parent, you design the habits children form early in life. Be an actively involved parent who creates healthy habits for your children. This isn’t just for their health, but it also shows them just how much you care.