Four ways to empower your kids to make healthy lifestyle choices

Four ways to empower your kids to make healthy lifestyle choices

As a parent, it is important to train your children to live a healthy lifestyle. Here are four tips you can use to train them to be healthy individuals. 

Mom and child exercising
Mom and child exercising/ iStock

With health being at the forefront of all of our minds lately, as parents we want to empower our kids to make healthy choices as they grow up and move through life. After all, we won’t always be there to limit their screen time or suggest that they eat a banana instead of another sugary snack. What are some ways we can encourage a healthy lifestyle legacy within our children? Here are some things to try:

1.)    Help them find an exercise they enjoy

We’re not all runners. Some of us thrive in water, while others prefer the serenity of yoga. The key is to help your children find a few forms of exercise that they enjoy and benefit from. As with most other parenting decisions, it’s tempting to push our own interests on our children, but this doesn’t always work. I.e. just because you’re an avid surfer, doesn’t mean your son or daughter will be too. It’s all about encouraging them to move their bodies every day, in whichever form this takes. If their school doesn’t offer any sports they like, consider extramural options or clubs, or take to them a kids’ gym class. You can also try doing a sport event as a family, like the Fedhealth Magalies Monster or Fedhealth MTB Challenge.

2.)    Teach them about nutrition

Food can bring joy and comfort but most importantly, it is fuel for our bodies – i.e., what we put in influences how our body functions. It’s vital to get this fundamental concept explained to your kids: that a healthy body is one in which input (food) is balanced with output (exercise). If you have an unhealthy relationship with food yourself, your children will pick up on this and start to develop unhealthy habits. Don’t label foods as “bad” and try not to use food as a reward for behaviour. Never show disdain for your physical body in front of them, but rather focus on the positives, and all your body (and theirs) can do.

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3.)    Encourage healthy sleeping habits

If our bodies don’t sleep, they can’t heal, rest or recharge. Without sleep our minds don’t function as they should, and we can’t regulate our emotions properly either. Many children are not getting the amount of sleep that they should be, mostly because they’re sitting on screens before bedtime, which reduces the quality of sleep they get. From when they’re babies, encourage a bedtime routine with a set time, so they know what to expect and how to self-settle and soothe. This will stand them in good stead as they grow up and continue to get a good amount of high-quality sleep each night.

4.)    Don’t forget mental health

Mental health practitioners have warned of the detrimental effects this pandemic is having on our collective mental health, and the worry is that there were serious issues with young people and their mental health before 2020 hit. It’s therefore important to face these issues head on – speak openly with your children about mental health and how important it is. Give them strategies to improve their mental health like mindfulness and breathing exercises, yoga for kids, journaling every day, and family meetings where you openly address feelings and emotions. The more we speak about mental health, the less of a stigma it has, and the more we can address problems before they worsen.

A healthy lifestyle is something we all want to achieve and it’s therefore important to work together as a family in order to encourage these habits and form a lifelong and positive mindset towards our mental and physical bodies.

Image courtesy of iStock/ @Dreamer Company

Article source: Urban Espresso

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