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Help Your Kids Make Healthy Choices by Working Together as a Family

May 17, 2021 09:27PM ● By Leslie Mc Carroll

Keeping our kids healthy seems to become more challenging as they get older and make more of their own choices. This is why it’s so important to help kids learn to make healthy choices for themselves. From toddlerhood to the teenage years, parents have to find that balance between encouraging their independence and steering them in the right direction. It’s a tall order, but these tips can help.

Set a Positive Example

One of the best things you can do for your children is lead by example. So much of what a child learns is through observation of their loved ones. It's critical to illustrate healthy lifestyle choices, such as ways to calm anxious feelings, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting plenty of rest and exercise. The same rule applies to education: If you’ve always wanted to go back to school, now is a great time to do so, since so many colleges offer online programs with flexible schedules and due dates. A master’s in healthcare may be just what you need to revamp your career and show your children the importance of education - and helping people.

Make Exercise and Healthy Food a Way of Life

Even with our parenting superpowers, the reality is that we can’t do it all. So instead of worrying over every little thing, work on having the whole family get on board with a few simpler choices that impact your health, like being active and getting good nutrition.

An excellent way to stay active is to get your family fitness outdoors. Being outside in nature is an added health benefit on top of the exercise you get from activities like biking, hiking, camping, and boating. Most kids LOVE water, so it may be worthwhile to invest in a boat. Even if you get a fishing boat that needs work, fixing it up can be a better value than buying new. Kayaking is a great option for staying fit while enjoying the outdoors; just make sure that you can properly transport your kayaks if you need to keep them at your home. 

Getting balanced nutrition is another healthy choice that kids are more likely to make when it’s a family effort. If you have younger children, Oregon Pediatrics suggests grocery shopping together. Make it a game and let kids “spy” fruits and vegetables in their favorite colors. When kids are old enough, help them learn to cook so they can take part in preparing their own healthy meals. 

Make Screen Time Educational

In this day and age, you’re going to have to accept that your kids are going to spend time in front of screens, and if your kids are like most, they love playing video games. While some game playing is okay, look for more educational options such as Math Blaster and Big Brain Academy. To get the most out of these games, make sure your kids have the necessary tech for fun and smooth gameplay. For instance, a high-resolution monitor can make game playing more enjoyable, and a pair of headphones could limit the noise! Also a fiber-optic internet connection can ensure fast gameplay with less lag.  

Some of these things may seem easier to do yourself, but it’s worth taking the time to get kids involved. When kids get to help make the decisions, they feel more empowered. And when they feel empowered, they’re much more likely to make the healthy choices you want.

Courtney Rosenfeld
Image by Pixabay