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How to Encourage Your Family to Be Healthy Now and Always
By Guest Contributor: Amanda Henderson
We all want our children to be well and grow into accountable adults who make healthy choices. You may be feeling the pressure when it comes to teaching your kids the importance of a wellness-focused lifestyle. The solution is to show them how life-changing the right choices can be and make it fun.
Be Their Greatest Role Model
Demonstrating positive qualities to your children is often a passive practice. Simply telling them about your values in a straightforward manner may not lead to retention on their part. Instead, as The Urban Child Institute explains, children tend to mirror adult behaviors in the process of seeking validation and approval.
Take food choices for example. Because eating is central to everyday human life, you can do a lot to show your kids the significance of good nutrition merely by integrating it into the family’s routine. They will eventually begin to understand that your continued well-being relates to how you make wise decisions around food.
In general, the way that you model responsible conduct has a lasting impact on a child’s psychological development. If you want to advance your children’s interest in education, for example, you could advance your own by pursuing an online degree in marketing, accounting, coding, graphic design, or publishing. This can give you the flexibility to be a hands-on parent while developing your career at the same time. There are parent-friendly institutions with courses and programs that are low-cost. Ultimately this equates to not only instilling the value of education in your children, but it can also bring the nice side benefit of more income.
Teach Them Fun Recipes
Fostering enjoyment around essential lessons is a surefire way to make something stick. Show your children that eating healthy is fun by collaborating in the kitchen together. Cooking with kids does not need to be overly complicated. Any sort of vegetable-based dish, like a layered lasagna with fresh spinach, can do the trick. Just imagine the smiles that will emerge on their faces as they help you prepare meals and delight in the rewarding results!
Studies have demonstrated that kids who learn how to cook from an early age are much more likely to try new fruits and vegetables in the future. Cooking together also helps build your bond with your children. You can even pick up some kid-friendly kitchen gadgets to fit little hands and keep them safe.
Make Fitness Fun
Physical activity is a must for a healthy lifestyle, regardless of how old you are. And just like with education and nutrition, setting the example makes a big difference for your kiddos. If you have a good attitude about exercising, they are more likely to want to be active and fit themselves.
One of the best ways to encourage this is through family activities. You can take walks together, go for bike rides or on kayaking trips, or take a hike in your nearest state park. You can even pick up a new sport, like tennis or golf, or join a community softball team. However, remember to focus on the good vibes and growth the activity brings, rather than competitive interests. As Changing the Game Project explains, promoting winning and losing over personal excellence erodes kids’ desire to be involved in sports.
For children who love gadgets, tying health to an electronic gizmo can be a great tactic for engaging them in fitness. There are lots of fitness trackers designed specifically for kids. All your child has to do is wear it, and his or her stats — such as steps taken, calories burned or minutes exercised — are automatically calculated. With many fitness trackers, personal accomplishments are tied to avatars and achievement unlocks, just like your youngster’s favorite video games.
Like many areas of parenting, the path of least resistance for healthy choices is one of leading by example. As you model the values that are most important to you, your kids will subconsciously take note and find ways to emulate your behaviors. Whether the lesson is eating well, focusing on school, or staying fit, your embodiment of a healthy habit itself is sure to make a good impression.