Top 10 Tips to Help Children Develop Healthy Habits
Healthy eating is the foundation of a healthy body. At every stage of your life- from early childhood to old age- good nutrition can make a difference in how you feel on a day-today basis and in the long-term. As a parent, you can encourage your kids to evaluate their food choice and physical activity habits. Here are some tips and guidelines to get you started.
1. Set a good example
You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if kids see you trying to eat right and getting physically active, they’ll take notice of your efforts. Introduce your child at a young age to a variety of healthy foods and be patient if he or she goes through a fussy eating phase.
2. Quit the “clean-plate club.” Let kids stop eating when they feel they’ve had enough. Lots of parents grew up under the clean-plate rule, but that approach doesn’t help kids listen to their own bodies when they feel full. When kids notice and respond to feelings of fullness, they’re less likely to overeat.
3. Go food shopping together.
Grocery shopping can teach your child about food and nutrition. Discuss where vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein foods come from. Let your children make healthy choices.
4. Get the whole family moving
Plan times for everyone to get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together.
5. Limit TV, video game and computer time
These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle and excessive snacking, which increase risks for obesity. Limit screen time to a few hours and only for the weekends.
6. Reward with attention, not foods
Show your love with hugs and kisses. Comfort with hugs and talks. Choose not to offer sweets as rewards. It lets your child think sweets or dessert foods are better than other foods. When meals are not eaten, kids do not need “extras” — such as candy or cookies — as replacement foods.
7. Listen to your child
If your child says he or she is hungry, offer a small, healthy snack — even if it is not a scheduled time to eat. Offer choices. Ask “Which would you like for dinner: broccoli or cauliflower?” instead of “Do you want broccoli for dinner?
8. Encourage physical activities that they’ll really enjoy – Every child is unique. Let your child experiment with different activities until they find something that they really love doing. They’ll stick with it longer if they love it.
9. Stay involved – Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school. Make sure your children’s healthcare providers are monitoring cardiovascular indicators like BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol. Contact public officials on matters of the heart. Make your voice heard.
10. Make hygiene habits fun. For example, kids love to spend special one-on-one time with their parents. Dads may make a point of taking sons to the barber and then having ice cream. Moms may want to plan a “spa” night with their daughters for washing hair, polishing nails, giving each other facials, etc. While this may not help on a day-to-day basis, it may encourage your child to take more of an interest in personal hygiene.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful, but if you need further in depth professional advice about this, then please get in touch to book an appointment today. I look forward to meeting with you soon!