Making healthy choices consistently is essential for good overall health. Kids aren’t born knowing how to make good choices for their lifestyles, so it’s up to parents to teach them how to develop healthy habits that will benefit them throughout life. Here are six tips from Healthy Lee to help your kids develop healthy lifestyles.
Model Healthy Choices
Kids learn best from watching their parents. If you are constantly telling your children to make healthy choices but are not following your own rules, your kids are likely to make the same choices. For example, your kids are more likely to reach for fruit as a snack if it is one of your preferred snacks, but if you consistently reach for cookies, your kids will copy your habits. Model the healthy choices you want your kids to make and see how your lifestyle influences that of your children.
Serve a Balanced Diet
One study found that up to 50% of kids are picky eaters as preschoolers, and for 27% of children, pickiness persists much longer. You should never force your kids to consume food they are uncomfortable with because this often leads to unhealthy relationships with food. However, it is a good idea to expose your kids to as many flavors and textures as possible. Serve a balanced diet and let your kids decide when to try new foods.
Prioritize Family Time
Give your kids plenty of quality time with you regardless of how busy you are. It’s easy to turn your children outside to run around so that you can get some work done, but you still need to put their needs first. Create a good bedtime routine and make sure you are available for it every night. You can plan fun experiences that the whole family can look forward to, or you can get your children to help with simple household chores to free up some of your time so that you can focus on your family.
Make Time for Self-Care
Show your kids how to prioritize mental health by making time for self-care. Take at least 10 minutes out of your hectic daily routine to do something you enjoy. Soak in a warm bath, relax by watching your favorite TV show or spend a few minutes working on a new hobby. You can also help your kids find self-care activities for themselves.
Get Daily Exercise
Daily exercise is important for people of all ages, so get your kids in the habit of moving daily to help them stay healthy. You can sign your children up for sports if they are interested or take them to the park on pleasant afternoons. You can also take a family walk after dinner to get your family in the habit of exercising together.
Have Safety Discussions
Kids need to test their physical limitations to understand what they are capable of, but they also need to know how to stay safe. Have an honest discussion about how your kids can do the things they enjoy while following safety protocols. For example, teach your kids that biking is a fun form of exercise, but wearing helmets and kneepads is important for safety.
Teaching your kids how to develop healthy habits is an important part of being a parent. By prioritizing your children and modeling healthy habits, you can prepare your children to make healthy lifestyle choices.