Which healthy habits should you start to teach your young ones? Here are a few that you can teach your kids or even start yourself, if you haven’t yet!
Healthy habits are best started when you are young. Not only will it be easier to maintain as you grow older, but the longer you keep healthy, the better quality of life you will have in the long run. If you start healthy habits early, you will be able to grow up with them, benefit from a healthy lifestyle, and live longer. You will have a lower risk for health-related diseases and live with more energy, and in a state of well-being. You will then have more time to achieve other life or family goals, without having the financial or physical burden of an unhealthy life. Sounds like a great deal, right? Anyone would want their kids to have this kind of life. So, if you want a few ideas on what healthy habits you can start with your kids and how to do this, here are a few that you can teach them:
Normalize Eating Healthy
If you grew up eating fried, salty, sugary, oily, fatty, junk, and fast-food or if you grew up with parents “forcing” you to eat something healthy, you might want to change these habits with your kids. Firstly, you will need to ease off of unhealthy food. Then, instead of having them think the healthy food they are eating is what they “should” eat, just let them eat it every day. Normalize healthy foods in your household so that it’s the only thing that they know to eat daily. Try to avoid scolding them and telling them that they “need” to eat something healthy. Just put in front of them healthy, nutritious, satisfying food and make it your normal routine. This means you need to stock up the fridge with fruits and vegetables, and toss out the chips and other processed foods. Of course, you don’t have to deprive your kids of anything, but give it to them as occasional treats. And of course, if you talk the talk, you must walk the walk - meaning that you have to eat healthy with them! Learn to love your vegetables and enjoy eating healthy and delicious food, and your kids will be right there along with you. If they see you normally eating healthy foods, they will emulate what you do, just like speaking, walking, and other essential things they learn while growing up.
Kids naturally love to play and I know sometimes that can be a little exhausting, but it’s good to encourage them to stay active their whole lives. Encourage them to find a sport or activity that they love, towards which they can channel their energy. Again, it’s also best if you start this healthy habit for yourself as well. Let them see you being active and exercising. Let them see you in your workout clothes and tell them about what you are doing, whether you’re going to the gym, going for a run, hiking, swimming, etc. If you can, bring them with you. Kids love when they feel like they can get involved with the things you’re doing. This will normalize exercise in their lives, and of course, as kids are natural mimics, they will do what you’re doing. When they grow up, being active will just become a part of their lives.
Let’s face it, as an adult, you get more and more stressed with life and get less and less adept at handling it. Your kids look up to you as a role model. Show them that they should not dwell on things too much and let it affect their mental and physical health. If they get stressed about homework, throw a temper tantrum, or worry too much about something, encourage them to take a step back and take a calming breath. Just normalize stress management. Don’t speak of it or tell them to do it, simply just do things to de-stress you when you’re feeling anxious. And as a part of stress management, make sure to get in some fun activities every weekend or whenever you have free time. Take a walk outside, go on a mini-vacation at a nearby beach, or do some yoga. Stress is never good for anyone in the household; it is like a disease that spreads to every member in it including your kids. Try to control your stress and encourage the same with your kids. A great way to do this is to have them color, paint, or play quietly in their room. For a good family bonding session, take them out for a walk or to the park or go on little exploration walks to take nature in and encourage well-being.
Encourage Curiosity and Exploration
It might be difficult and a little scary to let your child do things and explore, but it’s essential for their growth and fostering a healthy sense of independence. That doesn’t mean that you should let them do dangerous things. It simply means that sometimes, they need to get dirty, fall, get some cuts, and interact with a little bacteria. Let’s face it, children are naturally drawn to anything sticky and dirty, and sometimes you just need to let that happen. Let them satisfy their curiosity and explore the world around them. This will not only help with their brain development, it’ll also strengthen their immune system and help protect them from contracting illnesses easily.
It’s Never Too Late
It’s always best to start normalizing healthy habits at a young age. Have your children grow up with the life they deserve by encouraging healthy behavior. And of course, all of this needs to start with you. The best way a kid learns about life is by watching you. If you want your kid to start healthy habits young, then you need to start doing them and setting an example for them, too. If you didn’t really grow up like this, don’t worry, it’s never too late to start - for either of you!