With childhood obesity, diabetes and cancer rates on the rise, teaching your kids healthy lifestyle habits early on is important.
Boosting children’s activity levels
One of the most important things you can do for your child is to encourage her to take part in activities that don’t involve the computer or TV. To get started, follow these tips to help your children stay active.
1. Talk about the value of physical activity. This will help your kids develop an understanding of exercise’s importance to and effects on their health.
2. Set limits on electronic time. Put rules in place for the number of hours your child can watch TV or play on the computer. And take the TV or computer out of his bedroom. (Bonus: You can monitor usage more easily.)
3. Make activity part of the routine. Start going for walks after dinner, or make play-dates on the weekends mandatory.
4. Set an example. Children do as children see. By making exercise a family affair, you’ll help your children make it a habit. Get the family involved in a team sport. Coach your child’s sports team. Take time out of your day to go for a run, then come back and talk about how exhilarating it was.
5. Make it fun. There are so many fun ways to get active. Snowboarding, inline skating, taking dance lessons, throwing a softball around the park… The possibilities are endless. Making physical activity fun will compel your child to get involved.
With our busy lifestyles, making healthful eating choices a priority is hard. Teaching our children about proper nutrition can be even harder. Here are some simple tips to help children develop healthy eating habits:
1. Start early. As soon as your child can eat solid food, begin offering fruits and veggies.
2. Let your kids choose. Give your children options at the grocery store. Let them choose new foods to try or healthy snacks to nibble on. By having some control over what they eat, they’ll feel more invested in what they put into their mouths.
3. Get creative. If your child refuses to eat fruits or veggies, find sneaky ways to include them in their meals. Dozens of cookbooks now offer kid-friendly cooking solutions.
4. Make it enjoyable. Get your children involved in the kitchen. Give them spices to throw into sauces. Ask them what kinds of veggies they’d like to include in a dish. Plan kid-friendly meals that they can make on their own.
5. Monkey see, monkey do. As with physical activity, you have to show your kids how to eat healthfully. Therefore, you need to make healthy snacking and eating a priority for yourself, too.