Teaching Your Children Healthy Habits

Parents are role models for the next generation, so we need to be practicing good habits to pass down to them. You can help your child have good habits by having them start the habits early in life. This will bring them lifelong benefits. You can encourage them to evaluate food choices and physical activity habits. Here are some tips and guidelines to start.

  1. Be a good role model. If your kids see you eating right and doing physical activity, they will notice and will get the message that good health is important.
  2. Keep things positive. Kids don’t like hearing what they are not allowed to do, so tell them what they can do instead. Keeping things fun and positive works, because everyone likes to be praised for a job well-done. This helps children and teens develop a good self-image.
  3. Get the whole family moving. Plan times for the whole family to get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or even just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the time and exercise spent together.
  4. Be realistic. Setting realistic goals and limits are a key to adopting any new behavior. Taking small steps and making gradual changes can make a huge difference in your health over time, so start small and build up from there.
  5. Limit TV, video game and computer time. These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle and cause excessive snacking, which increases the risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease. You should limit screen time to two hours per day.
  6. Encourage physical activities that they will enjoy. Every child is different, so let them experiment with different activities until they find something they really enjoy doing. They’ll stick with it much longer if they love it.
  7. Pick exciting rewards. Don’t reward your children with TV, video games, candy or snacks. Find other ways to celebrate, such as a day going bowling or mini-golfing, or a day at the beach or pool.
  8. Make dinnertime a family time. When everyone sits down together to eat dinner, there’s less of a chance that children will eat the wrong food or snack too much. Get the kids involved in cooking and planning the meals with you. Everyone will develop good eating habits together and the quality time with the whole family is an added bonus.
  9. Make a game of reading food labels. The whole family can learn what’s good for their health and become more conscious of what they’re eating. It’s a habit that helps change behavior for a lifetime.
  10. Stay involved. Become an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school. Make sure your children’s healthcare providers are monitoring cardiovascular indicators such as BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol. Contact public officials on matters of the heart and make sure your voice is heard!

We offer nutrition counseling, so stop in today if you want some help along the way! Making the healthier choices are often tough and it can be nice to have a support system to help. Challenge your friends, family and children to change with you and enjoy the benefits.