One of the most important things you can impart on your kids is the importance of making healthy choices and taking care of their bodies. Learning that at a young age is key to improving health later in life, as well as handling self-esteem issues.
This doesn’t mean you should whip out the scale and consult your BMI charts! It also doesn’t mean you should sit down and talk about diets or weights with your children – there’s no need adding that extra stress to their life! Instead, you want them to develop a positive relationship with food and exercise from a young age, making it a natural part of their life as opposed to something they have to learn later on. Here are some suggestions on ways to bring healthy choices into everyday life.
Cook Dinner Together
Have a picky eater on your hands? Bring them into the kitchen! Making meals as a family teaches kids how to prepare meals on their own, which helps avoid them relying on fast food and prepackaged snacks later. When kids learn to cook their own food, they develop a positive relationship with eating, and can be guided to making healthy choices.
Get Outside Together
Exercise does not have to be intense workouts. Exercise can be in play, or taking a walk through the outdoors. It seems like kids have busier and busier schedules these days – as do their parents – so the free time to just go outside and play dwindles. That’s not good! Prioritize spending time outside. That helps make the whole family more physically active. That way, they learn that keeping the body healthy isn’t just about what they end up doing in gym; it’s about being physically active in ways they enjoy. Healthy exercise doesn’t have to be torture!
Talk About Health
This doesn’t mean lecture your children about their weight or exercise routines. It is important to teach kids what it means to make “healthy” choices, even if that just means falling back on that old “it will help you grow up big and strong” chestnut. Slow down the pace of meals and help your kids learn about the signals our bodies send us to let us know when we’re full – enjoying each bite at a slower pace helps prevent overeating. Talk about the importance of sleep and rest, play and exercise – it’s not just about eating right! Just make healthy decisions an explicit part of life, and you’ll help impart good habits on your kids.