It goes without saying that one of the biggest priorities for any parent is the well-being of their children. When we say ‘well-being’, the first thing that comes to mind is health. And ensuring that one’s children are healthy is nothing short of a parental responsibility. In this article, we’ll explore 10 ways you can bring up your children in the healthiest way possible.
1. Start Small
Start small and build momentum. Bite-sized goals are easier to accomplish than massive end-goals. If you tell your young kids that the ultimate goal is to cut their screen-time from 6 hours a day to 1 hour, chances are they’ll think this is too radical and refuse to cooperate. It’s all about small wins. Cutting it down by 10 minutes a week, for instance, would be a much smarter, and more palatable, idea. Small wins lead to big wins and help build motivational momentum.
2. Encourage Their Passion
Help them find a form of physical activity that they’re passionate about, and encourage them to pursue it. If your kids enjoy soccer, then by all means, drive them to a soccer practice, play with them, and encourage them. Their passion for the sport will drive them to fitness. Alternative, if your kids hate swimming, don’t force them to swim under the argument that ‘it’s good exercise’. If they don’t enjoy swimming, they won’t take it as seriously and it will hardly serve as a workout.
3. Cut Down Screen Time
It goes without saying that screen-time needs to be limited to 1-2 hours a day. A plethora of studies have shown that excessive screen-time leads to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
4. Reward Your Kids
We talked about chasing after small wins, now let’s talk about rewards. Reward your kids to achieve these small wins. But, for the love of God, don’t reward them with candies, junk food and more screen time. That would just be shooting yourself in the foot.
5. Make Meals a Family Time
Establish a no-devices-at-the-table-policy. Not only will this foster closer family ties, but when the whole family eats together, they eat healthier. If you let your kids eat whatever, whenever (especially in the privacy of their rooms), chances are it’ll be more junk food than not.
6. What’s in Their Food?
Encourage your whole family to read food labels. If you can instill this habit in your kids at a young age, it’ll benefit them for the rest of their life. There’s nothing to be lost and everything to be gained by understanding what’s actually in our food, and the impact it has on our body.
7. Learn for Your Kids
Parents need to stay in the game. Keep researching and keep learning more about health, so you can pass it on to your kids. Speak regularly to your GP or Doctor about what you and your family can do to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
8. Be a Good Role Model for Your Kids
If they see you sitting on the couch all day and shoveling down crisps, they won’t take you seriously when you tell them to get out and exercise. You need to plant your flag in the ground and lead from the front.
9. Stop Comparing!
Go for positive reinforcement over negative reinforcement. Praise them for their small wins rather condemning them for their small losses, and don’t ever – and I mean EVER – compare them to another child.
10. Grow Together and Live Healthier
The last thing is to make the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle a family goal. Do it with the whole family. Go for treks and hikes together. Go for bike rides with the whole family together. Eat healthy meals together.
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