January 25, 2023
by Amanda Henderson
Kids are like tiny sponges when it comes to absorbing information from all around them. Therefore, if they see the adults in their lives modeling healthy behaviors, they will do the same. As parents and role models, we have to help our children be their very best, and that starts by showcasing our own positive habits and encouraging theirs. Here’s some insight to help you along the way, brought to you by World Family News.
What Does It Mean to Make Healthy Choices?
Healthy choices are those that let us be our best selves. Goshen Health notes that losing weight, for instance, starts by eating healthy foods and avoiding bad habits, like smoking and drinking. But, we make decisions each day outside of what we put on our plate that affects our overall well-being. Setting goals, exercising, forging friendships, and sleeping are four examples.
Provide a Healthy Home
A healthy homelife goes beyond love, encouragement, safety, support and connection. Clutter, disorganization and mess will not only stress you out, but it probably stresses out your kids too. To ensure your home is the haven you all deserve, make a point to declutter and clean out drawers, closets and cabinets. Set up an organizational system that everyone can agree to, and assign weekly chores.
The Future Is Theirs
Setting goals is important for your children because it gives them something to look forward to. This is especially important as they enter their adolescent years when they are deciding what to do as adults. Spend some time here evaluating whether or not you’ve pursued your own dreams or if you are still wishing you’d made different decisions.
If you have made a career in tech but have yet to earn your master’s, show your children that it’s possible, even if you’ve got a late start at achieving your goals. When your children see you going to school while also handling your personal and family obligations, they might be more encouraged to get the challenge of college out of the way directly out of high school.
Leaving the Couch Behind
Exercising is crucial, and there is very little explanation needed for that fact. But, if you aren’t already showcasing to your children that physical activity is fun, you may be setting them up for a rough road ahead. Australian Sports Camps explains that a sedentary lifestyle in a person’s early years can increase stress, make it more difficult in school, and lead to difficult-to-control mood swings.
Schedule time for exercise each day, whether it’s playing basketball in the backyard or working with a personal trainer, to illustrate to your children that your body matters, and then encourage them to do the same for the same reason. Exercising with your child is a great way to get extra time with them in the midst of a busy schedule. Even taking a stroll each evening has both physical and mental health benefits. If you don’t reside in a neighborhood conducive to walking, research pedestrian-friendly areas near you.
More Than Social
Friendships are also essential to our overall health. Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine goes so far as to assert that your friendships are just as important as diet and exercise. Understandably, in your 30s and 40s, it’s difficult to get together with your friends. But, if you want your children to grow up understanding the value of a strong support system, you have to find a way to intertwine all of your relationships. Host a monthly barbecue, meet friends for dinner occasionally, or plan a group vacation. The bonds that you have as well as those your children will make now will be the glue that holds you together during those unexpected life events when friendships matter the most.
Turn Off the Lights
As for sleep, unless you’re already getting around eight hours each night, you’re probably chronically sleep-deprived. And as much as you want your children to get in bed on time each night, you probably lack a routine that encourages excellent sleep hygiene.
From an early age, give your children a solid bedtime ritual. This should include brushing their teeth, settling in for a story, taking a warm bath, or any other activity that acts as a transition point from day to night. Bedtime is also a great opportunity for you to spend some time with your child and truly connect with them. Even just sitting and talking about their day can help you build and foster that connection, which, in turn, can make all the difference in a good night’s sleep.
Ultimately, everything that we do sets the expectations our children put upon themselves in adulthood. We want our children to be healthy, and we have to prioritize their well-being and practice what we preach. So evaluate yourself, and know that all of your good and bad habits will be the same ones your children remember and do themselves.
Amanda Henderson is a guest writer and you can find more of her work at safechildren.info