Being a parent is a super challenging role in so many ways. While, of course, the rewards of parenting outweigh the challenges every time, that doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult to manage sometimes!
If you are a parent, you will know that setting a good example for your children is super important, but not always easy. As parents, we want to set our kids up for a successful life once they reach adulthood, so they can pave their own way in the world without our help eventually.
Teaching your children healthy habits when it comes to food, exercise, interaction with others, work and other crucial elements of life, is so important! In this article we will explore how to teach your children healthy habits, so they can have the best chance of thriving later on in life.
Food Habits - How Do We Ingrain Them In Our Kids?
Every person on the planet has ingrained food habits that they follow, either consciously or unconsciously. The truth is, most people learn these habits when they are kids - and whether they realize it or not, it can be very difficult to break the food cycle our brains and bodies become accustomed to in early life.
As a parent, the food you feed your children depends on your own food habits and beliefs, as well as the access you might have to healthy foods and cooking facilities. All parents do is try their best, and it’s easy to feel as if you are failing.
If you want to instil good food habits in your children, follow these steps to get yourself on the right path.
You crave what you eat.
Studies show more and more that children nowadays eat too much sugar - and sugar, believe it or not, is super addictive. Our bodies crave it the more we eat it, so if your children grow up consuming high sugar levels, they are likely to continue this into adulthood.
Eating too much sugar can cause eventual diabetes, weight gain, as well as mood problems. By instilling healthy sugar levels in your kids from an early age, you can help them continue eating a balanced, healthy diet once they leave home and choose what they eat.
Our bodies crave what they are fed regularly. This means if you pack your kids’ diet full of fruits and vegetables, healthy meals and occasional treats, they will crave this into adulthood, and continue on a healthy trajectory.
It is easy to let certain family routines slide when life gets busy. However, mealtimes, such as family breakfasts and dinners, are super important pillars of your child’s life that should be respected. Not only does eating a full breakfast, lunch and dinner help your child’s mind and body, it also gives you time together as a family each day.
By teaching your children to respect mealtimes, you can help them implement their own healthy routine when they grow up and become more autonomous.
How do you feel about kids’ food habits in 2021? Are you actively making changes to your children’s diet? Comment and share your thoughts below!
Exercise and Activity
We all know the importance of exercise as adults - but do we think enough about whether our kids get enough physical exercise? Children play together at school, running around, climbing and skipping, which are all helpful activities to keep them fit.
However, in our increasingly digital world, parents are finding that their children would now rather play on an iPad than outside. This is a serious issue for children’s overall health, and combined with increased sugar intake, is proving to cause higher child obesity levels.
How can you encourage your children to exercise more? Here are three helpful tips!
Enrol them in sports clubs with kids their age.
To encourage your child to get outdoors more, you could enrol them in a sports club that involves other kids their age. Children benefit hugely from spending time together in an active environment, so this move could not only help their fitness, but their confidence too.
Sports clubs are often equipped with fantastic facilities, such as pitching machines, tennis courts, protective equipment and qualified coaches too. Why not enrol your child today?
Encourage them to watch sports and get inspired.
Watching sports is the reason that many people go ahead and try that sport themselves. By watching sports with your children, which is a bonding experience in itself, you can get them excited about playing outdoors with you.
Sports such as soccer or tennis are cheap and easy to play, and require little equipment. If your child feels inspired by their favorite athlete on TV, they might be empowered to play the sport themselves!
Do fun activities as a family on weekends.
Sports don’t have to be competitive or intense, they can be combined with leisure and fun. Going for bike rides, swimming, kayaking, horseback riding, or even for a long walk, at the weekends, is a good way to spend family time while keeping your children active.
If you are active as a parent, your children might want to join in. After all, most children want to be like their parents, so setting that positive example is a good place to start.
Interaction With Others: How Do We Teach Healthy Relationships?
As a parent, it isn’t always possible to set a good example 100% of the time. We are only human - we sometimes mess up, or display behavior that we don’t want our kids to emulate. This could be drinking, cursing, having arguments with your partner, or even more minor things.
However, on the whole, it is crucial that we set our kids up not just for life on their own, but for life among others. How are we teaching our children to interact with people? Are we making enough of an effort to ensure they grow up equipped to deal with relationships?
Whether these relationships are professional, familial, friendships, or, later in life, romantic relationships, parents need to set clear guidelines for how to deal with conflict.
Firstly, if you live with your children’s other parent, you should always ensure that, no matter the disagreement, you display respectful behavior. It is possible to be angry with someone and express that anger, without disrespecting them or bullying them. Showing your kids how to express their emotions without resorting to unacceptable behavior is key to their development!
Similarly, if your child encounters a rude or disrespectful person, we need to teach them that they can handle the situation without stooping to their level. Taking the high road is not always easy, but it is vital to set this example to children while they learn how to navigate life’s ups and downs.
Finally, teaching healthy relationships takes time and persistence. Everyone slips up, and your child might react badly in some instances, for example to fights at school. The best thing you can do is continue to instil your values as a parent, and eventually it will sink in!
Do you talk to your kids about emotions and relationships? How do you approach tricky subjects? Comment below - we’d love to hear your thoughts!
As parents, it is so easy to ask yourself the question, ‘Am I doing everything right?’
At the end of the day, nobody is a perfect parent; we all try our best to give our kids the tools they need to live well in the future.
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