Healthy Habits for Kids and Teens: Tips for Parents
Healthy kids are happy kids, and when you teach them how to care for their bodies and minds at a young age, those lessons will stick with them for years to come. That’s why it’s crucial to talk about the best ways to stay safe and how to make healthy choices, no matter how old your child is. Topics might include how to eat right, how to stay active, how to prevent illness, and safe driving tips for teens. It’s not always easy to come up with age-appropriate tips for encouraging kids to practice self-care, but there are some things that can help.
Those of us at The Nest strive to provide resources that helps families thrive, so with that in mind, here are a few things to consider.
Teaching by Showing
As we know, children learn by observation, so teaching them how to behave is best done by showing them good behaviors and letting them follow your lead. When parents behave poorly and then punish their children for mimicking their behavior, it can cause a lot of problems for the child and it won’t effectively teach them right from wrong. That’s why it is so important that our own behaviors are consistent with how we want our children to grow and develop.
Even if your child is not of driving age just yet, you can still have discussions about how to stay safe on the road, the rules of operating a car, and the best ways to handle any situation that arises while behind the wheel (such as bad weather). When your child is in the car with you, bring up a topic such as the rules associated with traffic lights and talk about the right and wrong way to follow them. Or you might talk about how important it is to always wear a seat belt or to put away the phone while driving. By the time they are ready to get behind the wheel, they will have already learned quite a bit about how to drive safely from you.
There really is no wrong way to help kids find an exercise routine that they’ll enjoy. If they are interested in sports, consider allowing them to join a team at school or with your county. Of course, the American Heart Association explains one of the best ways to help your child get moving is to do something together. Start up a game of kickball in the neighborhood or play with the dog in the backyard. You might allow your child to help you in the garden, or start going for nature walks together. The more you can get involved in activities with one another, the easier it will be for your child to maintain an active lifestyle.
Teach Them How to Stay Healthy
There are many different aspects to our health, from the way we eat and sleep to how we handle stress and anxiety. It is imperative to talk to your kids about how to stay healthy and keep up with a well-balanced physical and mental health routine, especially during their teenage years. This is a time when many kids fail to get enough sleep or good nutrition, and the stress of high school can lead to anxiety or depression. MindBodyGreen notes that helping your child learn healthy ways to cope with negative feelings as well as working to prevent illness by keeping their immune systemstrong will give them the tools they need to independently take care of themselves as they grow into adulthood.
Healthy habits can be hard to teach if you yourself don’t follow them, so make it a point to ensure that you lead by example. Giving your kids the tools they need to succeed in life includes teaching them how they can keep themselves safe, healthy, and happy.
The Nest offers classes, lactation support, personalized doula services and much more. Connect with us by calling 863-578-8633 for more information on how we can help in your parenting journey.
Guest post by Leslie Campos of WellParents.com
Photo Credit: Pexels