In a world of gummy candies, soda, video games and tablets, how do you ensure your kids are embracing a healthy lifestyle? This can be a challenge for many parents that also yields many obstacles. Here are some steps you can take to encourage wellness in your family.
Lead by Example
Take a look at where you are in your own health journey. Your kids notice everything you do, even if you don’t realize it at times. They likely see your habits on a daily basis. They will notice you coming home from a walk, ordering a salad or attending a wellness appointment. These habits can make a big impact on how your kids view their own health. When you take care of your body, mind and spirit, your kids will know that wellness is important.
Let Them Know Why
Why is our health important? Remember to explain this in kid-friendly terms. You can always find time for a little health education. Let your kids know that you’re adding vegetables to dinner to get more fiber and nutrients. They may not know that you exercise to improve your heart health. Knowing the reasons behind your habits can leave an impact.
Make it Fun
Boiled vegetables and laps around the track may not be your kids’ idea of fun, so think of what they would enjoy. There are many ways to increase your family’s physical activity level. For example, you can do a family hike, one-on-one basketball game or a long bike ride.
The same is true of food. A plate of green beans may not be appealing, but they might love veggies and ranch dip, spiralized veggies with meat sauce or a bowl of fresh fruit with a little whipped cream on top.
Involve the Family
Healthy habits can’t be all your idea. Spend some time with your kids to talk about what they want to do. What are some ways they’d like to get moving? One may choose a hike, another might choose a soccer game and one may want to explore weight training. Each kid is different and will therefore have different wants and opinions.
Do the same for food! Is there a new recipe they’d like to try? Search online for fun things to make and then shop and cook together. Do their lunchboxes need an overhaul? Shop together for healthy items to put inside such as fresh fruit, yogurt and grains.
Aim for Moderation
Don’t expect to get a picture-perfect plan overnight, if ever. Adding just a few healthy habits to your routine can make a big impact. You will find that as you slowly add them in, they become easier and easier to stick to. Finding a true balance can be an art.
If this sounds like a plan, begin with the first steps. You may be surprised at how much your family jumps in on these small changes. It’s much easier if you’re all in it together!