When is the best time to teach healthy habits to children? Now! Establishing healthy habits will benefit not only your children but the entire family as well. Being a healthy family helps your budget too as you will need fewer doctor visits. There are so many benefits and no drawbacks to teaching your kids to live healthy.
Lead by example
It’s not an unknown fact that children learn by example. They are little copycats who learn by repetition. I guess technically you could try the whole “do as I say, not as I do” idea…. But let’s be honest. That just doesn’t work.
How is a child supposed to develop these habits and understand the importance if you aren’t willing to do it yourself? Simple answer: they won’t. It’s super important that you start off by leading by example.
If you want your child to develop healthy habits that will benefit them in the long term, you have to lead by example, there’s no way around it. Show them what it looks like, show them how important it is to follow, and just show them. Don’t just tell them – show them.
Do it all together
Even better than just showing them what it looks like and how important it is? Making it a family event so to speak. You all get involved to exercise together, make healthy meal plans, find yummy smoothies to make, etc.
Personally, I think it’s a ton of fun to find new recipes to try and add to our meal plans. The kids love to find smoothies that taste really good too! We love to take some time once a week and scroll through Pinterest. We find all kinds of new casseroles, soups, and Mexican dishes. The older kids really love doing this with me.
It sets a good example, gets them involved and excited, and it’s a good family bonding experience too. It gives you an excuse to do something together that will benefit everyone long term.
Set important boundaries
While I don’t like to get super crazy with having rules, it’s important to have boundaries to keep kids healthy. Without them, I find it’s very common for kids to want to have candy for breakfast, skip the teeth brushing, and lay around on the couch all day.
Let’s be honest, that’s just not good for them. It’s important to set some boundaries. Give them flexibility but be sure to have some boundaries of what is and is not acceptable when it comes to their health.
Maybe you require them to drink a smoothie in place of juice at least once a day but let them pick what kind of smoothie it is? Or maybe you require at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day but they get to choose a sports team to play on if they want.
Be patient, be flexible, and make it an enjoyable day to day experience. If you get them to enjoy the process, it’ll not only become a habit later in life, but you’ll have way less resistance than you would if you approached it in a manner where it was a chore.