One of the most important things you’ll teach your kids is the importance of healthy living. This can set them up for life – the things you teach them as children, whether consciously or not, will shape who they are as people and make a huge difference to their lives. Below, you’ll find 11 ways to teach your kids the importance of healthy living – it definitely isn’t just using words to tell them how important it is to eat healthily. It goes much deeper than that. Read on for 11 suggestions.
Set An Example
Yep – first, you need to set an example. You can’t possibly tell your kids that they should be doing something if you’re not doing it yourself. In fact, if you’re doing it yourself, then you likely won’t need to tell them to do it at all. They’ll want to do it naturally.
Make sure you’re eating food that nourishes your body, exercising, and managing your stress levels. Dedicate time to self care. Show them that it’s not only important to stay healthy, but to love yourself, too. Spend time on your own hobbies. This can be tough when you have kids, but it’s so important that you do because then they’ll see how important it is to dedicate time to something they love.
Cook With Them
Cooking with your kids gives you the opportunity to teach them the importance of home cooked meals and healthy ingredients. You can talk to them about why some ingredients are healthy, and which ingredients go with other ingredients. This can teach them valuable lessons for a lifetime, and help them to develop a love of cooking. You don’t want to preach to them about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods – it should all be about balance, no labels.
Don’t Let Them Use Food As A Crutch
Make sure you don’t let your kids use food as a crutch, or this is a quick way to encourage them to use it whenever they are bored, stressed, or unhappy. Never give them food as a reward, either. Find other ways to reward them. It’s so easy to get into unhealthy habits with food, so make sure they know that food is important for fuel and nourishment, but shouldn’t be used as a crutch for unsavoury emotions. You must teach them to understand, identify, and work through their emotions. Food may mask them for a little while, but they will never get to the root of a problem if they’re using food to cover their emotions up all the time.
Get Active Together
Getting active together as a family can be a lot of fun, and a great bonding activity. Just aim to have fun and get out of the house and see what happens. Walk regularly, and go on hikes where possible. Go swimming. Play sports. Do as much as you can – try not to drive everywhere. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. There’s so much you can do!
Eat One Meal Together Per Day
This might sound like a strange one, but eating one meal together, as a whole family per day, can help your kids in many ways. Studies have shown that kids will be less likely to give in to peer pressure, and more likely to do well in school. It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. What matters is that it’s part of your routine, and that you all sit at a table and focus on the food/one another. Try not to do TV dinners!
Keep Up With Regular Health Appointments
Make sure you prioritise the family’s health by keeping up with regular health appointments. Find a dentist that is open on Saturday if you need to – or even a dentist that is experienced when dealing with nervous patients if your kids don’t like it. Getting them used to check ups will ensure they know how important it is to seek professional help when they need it.
Limit The Use Of Technology
Limiting the use of technology may seem impossible. Phones, TVs, tablets, laptops – you can hardly get away from it. This doesn’t mean you should let your children sit and fester in front of the computer or TV. Encourage them to play outside, or do arts and crafts in the living room. Get them to be creative, rather than numbing their brains with random content. Sometimes technology can be helpful, but the amount you allow them to use should be limited. Don’t have it in their bedrooms, whatever you do. No TVs, and make sure they leave their phones outside. This will get them into good habits for later on in life, too.
Be Vigilant With Their Bedtime
Make sure you get your kids into a good routine with their bedtime. When you do this from a young age, it can be harder for them to fight it. They’ll get tired at the same time each night when you’re consistent, too – try to be vigilant, even on weekends.
Watch Your Language
The words you say can have a big impact on kids. They don’t easily forget, even if you convince yourself that they will. Don’t talk about their bodies. Don’t talk about your own body. The last thing you want is to teach them that focusing on the weight or shape of their body is super important – they’ll get enough of that from the media, so strengthen them to it now. Don’t mention diets, either. Healthy living is not a diet.
Expose Them To Positive Influences
Expose your kids to truly positive influences. Do your research and allow them to read books written by these people.
Teach Them To Take Care Of Their Minds
Taking care of their minds is a crucial part of healthy living, too. Encourage them to start journaling from a young age, and you can even start meditation together. You can also try breathing, muscle relaxation and visualization. It’ll all help them in various ways!