Healthy Kids Guest Post by Amanda Henderson
Healthy Kids Learn From Their Parents
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Children imitate their parents; that’s not news. In fact, if you already have children, you’ve likely seen some imitative behaviors already. So it stands to reason that if you want your kids to establish healthy habits they can take with them into adulthood, you have to practice said habits as well. The “do as I say, not as I do” philosophy of parenting is pretty toxic, after all. Start implementing the following behaviors to leave a positive impression on your children and create an overall healthy family life at home.
When we hear the word “exercise,” the associations the word conjures up are often pretty negative. We think of trudging along on a treadmill or dropping big bucks on a boutique class. If you neglect working out because of those associations, it may seem like a pretty reasonable excuse. However, showing your children that physical activity is an essential part of a daily routine is essential for their health.
Regular exercise promotes both good physical and mental health. It burns excess fat and prevents obesity. People who exercise are less likely to develop health issues including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, insomnia, and even some types of cancer. Furthermore, exercise promotes a healthier state of mind while alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety.
If you really hate working out but you want to set a good example for your children, find a way to be physically active without sucking all the joy out of it. Walking is a good place to start. It’s gentle on the joints and lungs but still provides all the health benefits you want. Another great way to incorporate exercise into your family’s routine is by picking up a fun sport or game you can all play together. Kickball, frisbee golf, and tag are all fun activities families can do together in the comfort of your backyard.
The foods we eat as children shape our tastes as adults. If you are feeding your children nothing but chicken nuggets and fries, they are going to grow up with limited palates and high blood pressure from all that sodium. Cooking healthy meals with whole ingredients expands their diet while providing them with the nutrition they need to grow strong and healthy.
You don’t have to spend big bucks at Whole Foods to cook healthy meals. In fact, it can be easier to stay within budget when you skip the overpriced processed junk and instead stick to seasonal produce and bulk whole grains. If you are afraid your little picky eaters won’t like a switch in diet, you may be surprised at how easy it is to cook kid-friendly meals that are healthy. Recipes like slow-cooker meatballs, baked popcorn shrimp, and chicken tacos are all family favorites that you can make with healthy ingredients.
Another way to ease them into eating right is by having the kids help with meal preparation. Knowing how to cook is a useful skill they can take with them through the rest of their lives. Furthermore, working with the ingredients and learning about new foods removes the anxiety of the unknown, so children are less hesitant to try them.
Coping With Stress
Teaching your children how to cope with stress with healthy methods may be even more important than diet and exercise. Afterall, so many adults don’t know how to do it! If your kids see you pouring a drink or blowing up when you are stressed, they may do the same when they’re adults. Considering kids these days are feeling more stressed, that could lead to some serious problems down the road.
Start using these healthy coping mechanisms for managing stress to set a good example:
- Go for a 20-minute walk to pump your endorphins and clear your mind.
- Take up meditation and practice mindfulness.
- Practice some yoga poses.
- Say “no” to things you don’t want to do.
- Spend time with family and friends.
- Control stress by making a daily, manageable to-do list.
- Consult a therapist.
- Practice progressive muscle relaxation.
- Do some deep-breathing exercises.
- Spend time with pets.
Kids learn from their parents, so what are you teaching them? If you want your children to establish healthy habits, you have to practice them yourself. Exercising regularly, cooking healthy meals, and practicing healthy ways to cope with stress are all great ways to set a good example for your family.
Amanda Henderson is a mom to two wonderful, active boys and a preschool teacher. She enjoys writing in her free time, and recently decided to create Safechildren so that she would have a place to share her thoughts and favorite resources on parenting and child safety.