Teaching your children to make healthy choices doesn’t need to be complicated. Simple adjustments to your current routine are all you need to keep your kids on track. When you guide your kids towards healthy choices through encouragement as well as modeling your own actions, you help them develop healthy habits that will serve them for life.
Here are five great healthy living tips to get your kids started:
1. Help Your Kids Eat More Fiber We all think about increasing our fiber as we get older, but kids need fiber, too! Without fiber, it’s a lot harder to properly digest the food you eat. When the digestive system runs low on fiber, constipation and discomfort often happen. And it’s hard to run around and play with stomach discomfort.
The easiest way to add fiber is keep plenty of yummy fiber-rich foods handy. Provide five age-appropriate servings of fruits and veggies daily. Apples, beans, oranges, pears, peas, and whole grains are all kid-friendly fiber foods. Berries and nuts are fiber rich. How about making banana nut bread or blueberry muffins with whole grain flour?
2. Make Exercise Fun Kids are already experts at moving and grooving. They run, jump, climb, and play all day long. Games of tag and foot races are good for teaching kids about agility and speed. Sports like soccer, basketball, and running help little ones focus on endurance. Yoga and tumbling reinforce flexibility.
One of the best things you can do is let your kids see you exercise. Show them how important activity is to health. Making workouts a family affair will also help kids develop a lasting interest in health and fitness. So, get out and play together and have fun exercising as a family.
3. Bedtime Routines Help Sleep Kids, even teens, need more than the average eight hours of sleep needed by an adult. For young children, make the hour before bed loving and calm. Taking a bath, turning down the lights, and reading a story or two helps children transition from playtime to bedtime. And don’t forget, consistency is key for successful bedtime routines.
Older children and teens benefit from regular bedtimes, too. Going to bed at a similar time each night helps ensure that your teens get enough sleep. Teens should also turn off electronic devices 30-minutes-to-one-hour before bedtime. Blue light from phone, tablet, and TV screens makes it harder for the brain to wind down for bed.
4. Keep Good Mental Health in Mind Everybody experiences emotional ups and downs—even kids. That’s why it’s important to help children build a foundation of good mental health to carry them through times of worry or fear. So, let your kids know they can come to you if something is troubling them. Make sure they know they can trust you when they’re feeling low. Words of support and praise from a loved one could be just the thing they need to start feeling better.
5. Safe Use of Electronic Devices Digital devices are everywhere, and kids have easy access to them. Manage how much time kids spend logged into the digital world by making escaping from screens and computers a priority. The best way to do this is by taking breaks from technology yourself. Find fun offline activities to do together. They’ll love the solo attention and you’ll enjoy knowing your kids are developing a healthy relationship with electronic devices.
Making healthy choices is an important life skill that parents can teach their kids. Your example and guidance will show them how to make their own good decisions. Lead your kids to a life of healthy living by teaching them how to make good choices for themselves today.
Robin Thomas worked for 25 years in Medical Research at UNC, studying inflammation in chronic and autoimmune diseases.
She left UNC to start her own Wellness Business in 2004 and
founded Living Well Connections, a community for people whose passion is healthy living, in 2015.
Learn more at https://robinthomas.biz