Encouraging your child to develop healthy habits at an early age will have huge benefits throughout their lifetime from both health and lifestyle aspects. It may seem like a challenge when it comes to getting your child to eat their greens or go for a walk around the block, but there are so many ways in which you can create ways that will appeal to your child and encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle with healthy habits.
Being a Role Model
As a child, you look up to your family members, whether it’s advice, or simply wanting to grow up to be more like them, it’s something that you do without even realising. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that you’re the biggest role model your child will have throughout their life, your decisions will influence theirs and your habits will often be passed on to them too. This doesn’t mean you have to be on top form at all times, but giving them a clear message and setting good habits will certainly help them with their own.
Keep Things Positive
When you punish a child, or tell them if they have done something wrong, they instantly switch off and quite often avoid trying again. Keeping a positive, motivating attitude will help encourage your child to continue to do well and stick to their healthier habits. For example, if your child is eating an apple but only wants half, don’t worry that they didn’t finish it, praise them for choosing to eat the apple in the first place, as this is already a healthy life choice that will benefit them greatly. By praising your child whenever they do something good, you will boost their confidence and help them to develop a good self-image which in turn, will encourage them to continue to do well and work hard.
There’s nothing more exciting than a good computer game or some hilarious TV programmes after school, but by implementing a limited schedule to restrict the amount of time spent watching TV or playing on the computer, you can get your youngsters moving and keep them active. Don’t remove these perks completely, as you still want your child to be able to indulge in a little entertainment each night, but limiting this time will help them to work with a routine, as well as keep them busy.
Include the Whole Family
There’s no fun in trying to set an example for someone, when other people are doing the exact opposite. By involving your whole family in your activities and healthy habit plan you can ensure everyone stays motivated and encourages each other as they go along. This is also the perfect opportunity to spend quality family time together, whether that’s through swimming, playing in the garden or simply going for a nice family walk!
Focus on Dinnertime
Gathering your whole family together to sit down for dinner is something that should be done every evening. By having your family sat together, round your dining table enjoying the same deliciously healthy meal, you can rest assured they’re all sticking to at least one healthy habit. This way you can monitor what your children are eating, as well as keeping everyone together for some more quality family time.
Learn to Read Labels
By reading food labels, you are instantly aware of what good or bad ingredients are included. Whilst asking your child to check the calorie count on every item is very excessive and not recommended at all, you can make them aware of salt and sugar counts, which will help them when they are older. Go through your kitchen units with them and play a fun game of “which has more sugar” or “which has more salt” as this will help them to understand how to look for these labels, as well as encouraging them to keep in mind exactly what is in the food they are eating.
Children love being rewarded, no matter what the reward may be, so introducing a rewards scheme to your home is the perfect way to keep them motivated and encourage them to keep going. Stickers are one of the best ways to keep your little one interested, giving them a chart with gold stars to stick next to each task they complete. You could even set the prize of a chocolate bar every Friday, if your child eats their 5-a-day Monday to Friday!