As parents, we trust that our children will learn about the importance of good nutrition and regular exercise at school. And while that is a place where they will get valuable information, the most lasting lessons will be the ones they receive at home.
You serve as your child’s primary role model for what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. You may not realize it, but your children are paying attention to the fresh fruit that you cut up for afternoon snacks, or the fact that you make time to eat breakfast every day. These may seem like benign behaviors but it is the habitual routine that becomes a fixed lifestyle, which your children will one day adopt as their own.
So make those behaviors ones that promote good health and ones that you and they can be proud of! Many studies suggest that parental health behaviors influence the health behaviors of their children into adulthood.
Do it together! Engaging in healthy behaviors together can help strengthen family bonds and could ignite lasting family traditions. Children who exercise regularly do better academically and are better able to cope with stress.1 So by modeling healthy behaviors, parents are essentially helping their kids think better and develop stress-coping mechanisms.1
Make meals together – Find a new recipe or cook a family favorite! Use the opportunity to talk about the ingredients you are using…cooking together serves as a great vehicle for conversation!
Start a garden – Choose what you want to plant as a family and then use your bounty to create those delicious meals together.
Make chore time fun – Divide up the tasks and employ a little competition! The chores have to get done, so why not make a game out of it? It’s a great way to get the family moving, and take care of household duties.
Exercise together – Go for a jog, ride bikes, do yoga…whatever it is, find something you all enjoy!
Have fun –physical fun— Find time to play together. Have a “Just Dance” dance party, play a game of touch football, or go for a hike. You could even take turns choosing the activity.
Make a healthy lifestyle a priority and you and your children will reap the benefits!