Helping Children Develop Healthy Habits

Monkey see monkey do. Like it or not, our children are like hawks, watching every move we make looking for direction and examples of what is right and what is wrong. While they may not ask, they are certainly watching what we do and the choices we make everyday. If we engage in physical activity everyday, park away from the store to walk, skip the sweets and grab an apple, they’ll mimic our positive choices as well as our negative ones. How do we establish healthy eating habits and a love of physical activity in our children? A few pointers will go a long way in establishing lifelong habits of healthy lifestyles. If you’ve fallen off the wagon a bit, your children are a great reason to re­establish healthy choices. Follow these simple steps and your whole family will be on the path to a healthy, mindful and energetic lifestyle.

Eating together as a family is the number one thing you can do to establish healthy eating. Engage your children in the meal planning, shopping and preparation process in a way that’s interesting and relevant to their age. If they participate in the process, they’ll develop a greater understanding and begin the own the results. Jazz it up a bit. Have breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast. If it’s fun, it will be memorable and more apt to stick!

Unfortunately, the days of gym class have since past for most school aged children. If your children do participate in sports ­ you have half the battle of exercise conquered. If not, encourage at least an hour a day of either outside time riding bikes, walking or several trip a week to gyms that have youth programming. You’re working towards establishing habits. Be firm about the amount of screen time your kids have after school. this is a killer for creativity and healthy lifestyles. The more fun and engaging the activity, the greater chance your child will stick with it and benefit from the results.

Join them in the gym, join them on a walk and join them slicing vegetables for dinner. Get creative, engage them and you’ll be proud of the results for years to come. Rest assured they will thank you ­ but that will take years!