Every parent wants the best for their kids, but it can be difficult finding ways to promote healthy and happy lifestyle habits. The good news is that every parent can promote lifelong health and happiness in their children just by taking the right attitude and approach. Here’s how you can do just that!
Eating Right and Learning About Food
Most parents probably Epush their children toward healthier diets, but it is definitely an uphill battle. Children are bombarded daily with advertisements that feature almost exclusively junk and processed foods. They are likely to see their friends eating these foods at school and at home. They are even fighting against their own natural human instincts, which crave foods high in fat, sugar and salt.
You can win the diet battle by doing a few things all the time until healthy eating becomes the norm. It is possible to reprogram a child’s tastes, and even an adult’s, if the fake and processed foods common to the modern diet are stripped away. You don’t have to completely eliminate sugar and junk, but make it a habit that these are special treats enjoyed only on special occasions.
The first job is to eliminate access to junk food. Save money and don’t buy it. If the food isn’t available to eat, then children will have to make a different choice, and eventually the healthier choice will become the only choice they think of. As the parent, you have to follow the same rule. You can’t expect your kid to eat healthy if you aren’t showing them how.
This works even better when it’s fun. Invite your kids into the kitchen to help cook, use the juicer and learn about healthy, real and whole foods. If you live in an agricultural area or a place that has farmer’s markets, take your kids to these events so they can see where healthy food comes from and develop a connection and interest in it.
Giving the Right Freedom and Control
Most parents want their children to grow up to become independent and responsible people. Not everyone is cut out to be a leader, but everyone will need to learn how to handle responsibility and leadership in some capacity, even if it’s just to have good self-control and judgement. Children will never learn these important skills if they aren’t give the freedom and control to practice them.
Many parents fear that if they give their kids independence and let them make decisions they might make a mistake or get hurt. Of course, there is a fine balance between too little freedom and unsafe levels of freedom, but finding that balance is a critical part of your child’s health and happiness. Allow your children to take charge when it’s safe to do so. Maybe it’s something as simple as letting them plan their day or choose the path to take on a hiking trail. Maybe you know that their decisions aren’t the best they could make, but they will grow more if they find this out for themselves.
Balancing Technology Time
Modern kids are completely inundated with technology and screen time. Even very young children are spending many hours each day in front of a screen of some sort, whether it be a TV, phone, tablet or computer. For many overworked and stressed parents, technology is the easiest and most effective babysitter ever invented. For your children’s health, it’s important to limit screen time and get kids interested in more productive, creative and physically active activities.
You don’t have to eliminate technology altogether, but it should be reserved as a special activity rather than the norm. Set strict time limits on games and TV. Most standards agree than a two-hour limit is the maximum for good health.
Relaxation and quiet time is just as important for kids as it is for adults. Many kids are slammed with activities and overstimulation. Their mental health can benefit from being able to slow down and just relax. Take the opportunity to take them to a Jacuzzi with all of the cool hot tub accessories that they like in it so that they can just sit in the water, play around a little and relax. Just make sure to stay there in the water with them, keep the temperature at 95 degrees, and let the benefits unfold. If your child plays a lot of sports, this could be very good for their muscles. This is also a great way to teach your child that they don’t have to always be on the go and that it’s important to a rewarding timeout every now and then.
It is vital to encourage kids to read. Reading is mentally engaging and fosters creativity and imagination. According to the University of Michigan, reading is an important part of your child’s school and life success. It is far more mentally stimulating than passively watching a show and results in more brain development.
It can be challenge to get kids to read, but the trick again is to lead by example. Set a reading time for the entire household. The kids and the parents read. Reading together works well for kids of all ages, but older kids may benefit more from independent reading time. They are more likely to follow through when they see their parents reading and enjoying the value of books and stories.
You can set your kids up for lifelong health, happiness and success. Guidance is important for children, and parents should always lead by example. What your kids see you doing, they are more likely to emulate, and that is not true only of young children. Teenagers may not be as obvious about it, but they are still watching your every move. The healthy examples and habits you set for your children give them the tools and the mindset they need for success.