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3 Ways To Help Your Kids Make Healthy Choices


Raising healthy children in today's world, with busy schedules, fast food, and ever-present internet access, can be a challenge. However, with a little time and patience, you can teach your kids to make healthy decisions. The Nest presents three things to keep in mind as you guide your family toward a healthy future.


Be a Healthy Role Model


Kids often pay more attention to what the adults in their lives do than what they say. By modeling healthy eating habits, you show your children that you value health and teach them the skills necessary for lifelong wellness. According to a study referenced by the National Institutes of Health, kids whose parents are healthy eaters are more likely to choose nutritious foods for themselves. Family meals are a great opportunity to introduce kids to a variety of cuisines and tasty preparation techniques.


Exercise is part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well, so consider going for an after-dinner walk (or before-dinner walk if it gets dark early) to model physical activity. Take it a step further and make exercise part of the household routine; Parents magazine suggests a number of ideas including dance parties and gardening can get the entire family moving together.


Children also pay attention to other healthy behaviors modeled by their parents. Studies show a strong relationship between health and education, so modeling continuous learning is another way to positively influence your children's health. Adult education, such as pursuing an initial certificate or advanced degree in your teaching, early education, or school counseling, allows you to demonstrate that you value learning. Modeling educational pursuits for your children creates a good opportunity to discuss goals with children and explain how being strong and healthy can help them pursue those goals.


Make It Easy


Simple tasks are more likely to become permanent habits than complex ones, so make healthy behaviors easy for your kids. Make active toys, such as sports equipment and outdoor toys, easily accessible and keep them in good repair. Keep physical activities on hand that can be done indoors, such as kid-friendly dance videos, for when the weather is bad. Consider enrolling your children in sports so that physical activity is built into their weekly schedules.


Have healthy snacks on hand, and make them easy for kids to get themselves. Consider leaving out a bowl of fresh fruit or having yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and other nutritious items at the front of the refrigerator where kids can get to them easily.

It’s also easier to keep everyone on pace with an activities calendar. As simple as using colored markers and poster board (and stickers!), you can create your family’s own calendar, a month or two at a time, with planned things to do on the weekends and other free time. And if you get the kids involved in making the calendar and planning activities, they’re more likely to buy into it and get excited.


Keep It Stress-Free


Stress is detrimental to the health of everyone, so it is important to make a healthy lifestyle as pleasurable and stress-free as possible. Engage in fun family fitness activities. Find a variety of activities that all family members enjoy and rotate them to prevent boredom. To make mealtime more entertaining, choose meals that are both healthy and fun. Consider serving fruit and vegetables in interesting arrangements and letting kids prepare their own meals.


Don't change your entire lifestyle all at once. Take it slow, keep it low-key, and involve kids in the decision-making process whenever possible. If things get too stressful, have a good laugh or engage in other stress-relieving activities as a family.


Anyone raising children knows how difficult it can be to stick to a healthy routine, but making the process easy and fun for all involved increases the chances of success. Don't get discouraged by stumbling blocks or setbacks, and remember that even little improvements add up over time.


Guest post by Leslie Campos of WellParents.com

Photo Credit: Pexels

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