Home guest articles Practice What You Preach: 6 Ways You Can Be a Healthy Example for Your Kids

Practice What You Preach: 6 Ways You Can Be a Healthy Example for Your Kids

written by Guest Blogger July 6, 2014

There are many benefits to having kids. One of them can be inspiration for leading a healthier lifestyle! Check out today’s guest post by Dixie Somers who goes over some of the basics in teaching your kids to live healthier through what you do on a daily basis. 

Teaching your children the importance of living a healthy lifestyle is something that can best be done by example. When they see you making healthy choices in all areas of your life, they’ll be more likely to develop those same healthy habits. Instead of forcing your kids to live a healthy lifestyle, you can show them how to be healthy and by the time they are an adult, these healthy practices will be second nature to them.

The following six healthy living habits provide a good foundation for teaching by example.

Eat Breakfast

Mornings can be a hectic time for any family. As the adult in the group, you may be inclined to skip breakfast. Your kids should see you taking time to eat breakfast or at least leaving home with a healthy pack-and-go breakfast food. Whole grain muffins, healthy cookies, healthy cereal, smoothies and breakfast sandwiches are just a few healthy quick breakfast foods.

If you plan on having a healthy breakfast, you need to get enough sleep so that you’ll be able to wake up in time to eat a proper meal. This will also assist you in teaching your kids healthy sleeping habits as well. If they get in the habit of eating breakfast every morning, then they will continue the practice once they are on their own.

Less Sedentary

You can set a good example for your children by limiting your personal TV and computer time and getting involved in outdoor activities. You can’t just order your kids to go outside and play while you sit inside (even if you are getting important work done.) You need to be the one to show them how fun the outdoors are and how beautiful nature can be.

You can make these outside activities a family affair. You can do things together such as grow a garden, take daily walks together, go biking together or frequently visit a park and play soccer or catch. As a parent, it can be tough to keep up with your kids because they have far more energy than you do. This is why it can be tempting to sit your kids in front of the TV so that you can relax or get work done. Watching movies isn’t the worst thing in the world, but if your kids are never active, this could create a dangerous pattern for adulthood. Show them the way by planning fun activities that get you outside and moving as a family.

Healthy Snacks

Keep food for snacks, such as fruit, yogurt, carrots, celery and other healthy items on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator. Keeping only healthy snack food in the house sets a good example for your kids, and they’ll get used to eating nutritious snacks instead of loading up on junk food. Show them how to prepare their own healthy snacks so when they have to get their own food ready they will make a healthy choice. If you keep junk or candy in the house, your kids will eat it. If their options are fruits and vegetables, they will get used to eating healthy food. Instead of making them eat fruits and veggies plain, you can make the snacks more kid-friendly and interesting. Pinterest has tons of fun ideas for kid snacks that will get your children to eat healthy if you need inspiration.

Sleeping Habits

Establishing a pre-bedtime routine is a good habit for you and your kids. This routine might include some quiet time for reading or some other relaxing, non-technology related activity. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep each night is part of a healthy lifestyle, and as your kids get older, they will see the value of sleep. Growing kids need plenty of sleep, so even as your children become teens, try to enforce some rules, even if you don’t have a strict “bedtime” per say. A great way to encourage healthy sleeping patterns is to create a regular bedtime routine with your kids—starting when they are young. Changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, perhaps some reading before bed, are all things your kids can do every night. Once they get into a routine, they’ll be able to fall asleep easily and get good rest. Going to bed at the same time every night will also help to create a healthy, established sleeping pattern.

Taking Responsibility For Your Health

You also need to show your kids the ropes when it comes to being in charge of their own health, especially as they grow into teenagers. Educate your kids on the importance of personal hygiene and teach them about deodorant, shaving, and showering regularly—once your kids reach a certain age, they might not realize that no one is going to tell them to brush their teeth or take a shower, they need to do it on their own.

Another part of staying healthy is having annual check-ups, regular dental appointments, and seeing a doctor when any abnormal issues arise. The orthodontic professionals in Naperville at Pasha Orthodontics suggest that you encourage your kids to make their own doctor and dentist appointments starting at age 12 or 13 in order to teach them responsibility. This way, they learn the responsibility of setting an appointment, marking it on the calendar, and remembering to make a follow-up appointment for the future. It’s never too early to teach your kids responsibility, especially when it comes to their own health. You don’t want your child to get to college and not know the first thing about making a doctor’s appointment when they get sick. Teach them the necessary skills now that will help them maintain their health in the future.

Exercise

Being active is an important element of staying healthy, as mentioned above. However, being “active” and exercising isn’t always the same thing. Being outdoors and getting off the couch is necessary for a healthy lifestyle, but you also need to have a semi-regular exercise routine that gets your heart pumping and builds strong muscles. Enroll in a yoga class, aerobics class or exercise program that allows your kids to be active participants. Seeing you commit to an exercise program can be inspiring to them.

Everyone’s body is different, so every individual person prefers and enjoys different forms of exercise. You don’t have to be a fitness maniac—just display the importance of exercise to your kids, and show them that it can be fun. Whether you run marathons, or just use a Pilates DVD at home, make sure your kids see you exercising, because it will become a normal part of their lives as they get older. If it’s tough to drag your kids away from video games to get them active, consider playing Wii Fit games together to get the blood pumping while doing an activity that will hold the kids’ interest.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle requires a commitment. It likely involves some changes in your family’s eating habits and in how they spend their leisure time. Once you set the example for eating well, exercising and respecting the need for sufficient sleep, your kids will have a role model to follow. You can be the inspiration they need to make healthy choices in life, so start setting a good example today!

About the Author

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer from Arizona. You can find her on Google+

How do you lead by example?

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