5 Ways to Pass on Your Healthy Habits to Your Children
Posted Nov 01 2013 7:00am
You have paid your dues and are diligent about leading an active and healthy lifestyle. You eat right, exercise, and balance your time well between family, friends, and work. You know the benefits of a healthy life—but how do you pass that knowledge and those good habits on to your children? All parents want their kids to be happy and healthy. But sometimes it is difficult to know how. Though there are many ways to encourage a healthy life, here are five things you can do to pass on your healthy habits to your children. 1. Eat Together Diet is one of the most important factors in your overall health. That is why it is so important to cultivate healthy eating habits right from the start. However, everyone knows that children follow the “monkey see, monkey do” philosophy, which means that for healthy habits to really sink in, you need to participate. Don’t just tell your kids to eat right. Eat right yourself. You can pass on this healthy lifestyle simply by eating together. Though families today are busier than ever, try to make time throughout the week to share meals together. Show your kids how to prepare the food and make sure you eat all your greens on your plate too. When you eat together, you will be able to reinforce healthy eating habits and discourage the “fast food” lifestyle that so many follow. When you take time to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals, your kids are more likely to continue those eating habits throughout their lives. 2. Inform Them of Risks Make your home a smoke and drug free environment. This example will go far in teaching your children to avoid addictive and dangerous substances. However, don’t just assume they will follow suit. Inform them of the risks these substances pose. Show them the effects of long-term (and even short term) smoking, and the dangers and risks involved in drinking. Help them understand how these habits not only pose health risks to themselves, but how they also can be dangerous to others—such as drunk driving, or even texting while driving. Education is key to raising healthy and happy children. 3. Be Active Together Cultivate a healthy and active lifestyle with your children early on. Make active family outings a regular occurrence. If you have infants or toddlers, strap them to your back and go for a hike. Take your kids to the park or the pool during nice weather. If you are near backcountry woods, go on a family cross country ski; or sign the whole family up for a 5k fun run. You don’t have to be a super-family, but encouraging activity from a young age is a great way to build habits of activity. 4. Be a Friend Health isn’t just about the body—it’s about the mind and spirit. Therefore, part of a healthy lifestyle is building strong interpersonal relationships . This is done by cultivating friendships. Be an example of a good friend for your children. Teach them how to be socially confident and kind to others by doing so yourself. Talk to and befriend the parents of your kids’ friends. Build relationships with teachers, neighbors, and coworkers. Be friendly to strangers. Greet the cashier and chat with your waitress. Children take many of their social cues from you; so help them develop into socially astute and healthy adults through your example. 5. Sleep Well Finally, get a good night’s sleep. Though this isn’t always possible when you have a young baby interrupting your sleep every night, try to establish a regular routine with your family. Go to bed early and rise early each day—even on weekends. Show your kids the importance of sleep and the benefits of early rising. If you make it a habit to get 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night, you and your children will be happier and healthier. Author Byline:Tim Adams has a huge love for culinary arts. He enjoys cooking, baking, food, and gardening. In his spare time, Tim is an activist for protecting the environment and healthy living.
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