10 Ways to Teach Your Children the Value of a Healthy Lifestyle
Posted by James Gray on Monday, August 17, 2009
- Practice what you preach. It’s considerably easier to convince your children to adopt healthy habits if you’re doing the same.
- Involve the whole family. Establishing a regular pattern of exercising as a family accomplishes two important things: It keeps everyone in shape and serves as important bonding time.
- Limit screen time. Too much time watching television or playing video/computer games can lead to excessive snacking and a sedentary lifestyle.
- Make it fun. Let your children discover which specific healthy activities they truly enjoy. If they don’t like it, they won’t stick with it.
- Focus on the positives. Celebrate your children’s successes and help them develop a healthy self-image. Low self-esteem can lead to poor eating, exercise and lifestyle habits.
- Set goals and limits. If goals are excessively restrictive or vague, children are less likely to rise to the challenge. Establish clear nutrition and exercise goals (dessert two times a week; a half-hour walk five times a week, etc.).
- Reward wisely. Rather than rewarding children with desserts or sugary snacks (a common tactic), find healthy ways to show a job well done.
- Turn them into chefs. Get your children involved in planning and preparing meals; then sit down at the dinner table together and enjoy the healthy meal you’ve created together.
- Knowledge is power. Teach children the value of reading food labels and being aware of the healthy (and not so healthy) ingredients in the foods they eat.
- Don’t pass the buck. You’re the parent – that means it’s up to you to teach your children about good health. School and health care providers can only do so much.