You may not think much about it now, but habits your children develop at a young age will stay with them their entire life. When you instill healthy habits, they are far more likely to stick with them and grow up to be a healthier adult. Maybe you already have a teenager who is struggling to lose weight, or perhaps you have a younger child who has no interest in physical activity. Whatever the case is, these tips will help create healthy habits.
Be an Example
Telling your child to eat healthy and exercise while you shovel in pastries sitting on the couch is not going to fly. You need to be the example. They learn from watching you, so the younger they are, the more natural healthy habits will be because they will be all they know.
Plan Active Activities
Family movie night is great for cold winter or rainy summer evenings, but family time should include activities that get you moving. I get it; movie night is cheap. However, so is packing some snacks and water and going on a Saturday morning hike, or grabbing the sleds on a winter day and going tobogganing.
Take Daily Walks
Even a small amount of activity is better than no activity at all. Going for a 20-minute walk around the block after dinner is better than plopping down on the sofa. A walk will speed up digestion and give you a chance to talk about their day, homework, upcoming sports games or dance recitals, etc.
Don’t Use Food as a Reward
Promising a stop at the ice-cream parlor, if they are good teaches them that unhealthy food choices are rewarding. It can be tempting to bribe with food, especially when you have a million things going on, you’re stressed out, and you just want them to cooperate. If you are going to use food, make it something healthy, like smoothies or fruit kabobs.
Promote a Healthy Environment
A child’s surroundings can either inspire them to get active or promote laziness. If you are in a dark, cluttered, dirty house with poor air quality, you will likely want to lie around and do nothing. A clean, well-lit home with great air quality just makes you feel like moving. Get them involved with chores, and give them responsibilities that go beyond cleaning their room. Have them clean the blinds or help you clean the wall water feature. Coincidently, a water fountain actually cleans the air and promotes a healthier environment, too. You can order one online at stores like IndoorFountainPros.com.