We all want our kids to be healthy, but are you teaching your children healthy habits? Review this list of five healthy habits every parent should strive to instill in children, and then find ways to make these goals practical for your life situation.
Show your child that exercise is important. Turn off the video games, put away the movies, and get outside. Discover a sport or active game you and your child both think is fun, and then make a point of doing this together often. A few ideas: toss a baseball in the backyard, go for a hike, or walk the dog.
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Teach your child to eat healthfully. This is tough to do here in America, where fast food is king and everyone thinks we should reward ourselves with junk food that’s actually killing us. Serve healthy food at home and pack your child’s lunch, sending fruit and vegetables instead of chips and Cheetohs. Give each meal a grade, explaining what are the healthiest and least healthy parts of the meal so your child will be equipped to make good choices later.
Help your child understand how important it is to get adequate sleep. Not getting enough sleep impacts us more than most people know, resulting in cranky, mentally dull, hungry people who can’t function at full capacity. Model good sleep habits and send kids to bed a good half hour before you expect them to actually fall asleep.
Teach your child how to handle stress. Show them how to cool down before speaking (count to ten, write down thoughts, talk to a neutral party), how to apologize, and how to express needs and expectations calmly. Teach them the importance of relieving stress through hobbies, friends, exercise, and meditation.
Discuss the importance of good friend choices. If your child is making poor choices, help them understand why these kids might not be so good for them, and introduce them to kids who are better for them. Support good friendships by inviting the child over and doing the legwork necessary to encourage time spent together.
Parenting is a tall order, but you wil find the strength to do it for your child. By modeling these habits, you’ll help them live out healthy habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.