Did you know that the influence you have on your children shapes their behaviour and a great deal of the feelings they will have even when they grow up? This involves physical activity and healthy habits in general. You are obviously surprise to learn that parents outrank sports celebrities as the number one person their child “would like to be most.”
Keep on reading to learn how to help your children develop healthy habits by being a great role model.
Embrace the Concept of Family
Children who grow up in a healthy family environment value both physical and mental health and vice versa. Family patterns that seem most health-oriented include flexible parenting, family closeness, prioritizing health and mind-stimulating activities. Family-oriented children care and love others, including themselves and their health.
The bible frames it more accurately; “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Promote a Healthy Mindset Around Food and Fitness
Ensure that there is a balance and openness when it comes to food, mealtimes, cravings, etc. Teach them about nutrition and include them in meal planning, shopping and preparation. This helps them see food beyond just the taste. Do the same for exercise. Help your kids to know that healthy food and fitness are the foundation of wellbeing as long as they are alive.
Keep Foods Neutral
Avoid the habit of giving any kind of food to your child as a reward. Also, don’t forbid certain foods. If you use food as a reward, for example, offering your child a cookie because he/she completed homework on time, that can cause the kid to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. The child may mentally tag that food as special, fantasize about it and end up addicted to the food when they can access it easily.
Also, labeling any foods as “bad” is likely to increase your child’s desire for it. Moreover, it’s better to systemically make those “bad” foods unavailable at home if possible and educate your children without exerting EXCESSIVE control over their food habits else it can push their desire towards the food and result in the risk of overweight in them.
As a parent, you should know that children’s appetites fluctuate as they grow. So, if they are full, avoid pushing them to empty their plate even if it’s veggies. The surprising thing is that such rules instead condition your kids to have negative associations with certain foods and mealtimes in general.
Plan Regular Family Activities and Make Them Fun
The drawbacks of forceful tactics are equally applicable to harsh rules around exercise. Children perceive exercise as nothing but fun. If otherwise, they may hate it and end up exercising less even as adults. You can also encourage them to take up an after-school sport if possible.
Besides, make it a fun family affair by taking them out for park walks, jogging, inline skating or playing catch. Incorporate fun into it by counting the times the dog stops or the number of squirrels or rabbits the dog sees.
Research supports the concept that healthy parental behaviour can have a positive health effect on children’s mental, psychological, bahavioural and physical health and development, especially in their early years. Therefore, inculcate healthy habits in your children and they will value them even when they become adults. The bible frames it more accurately; “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”