16 Aug Key Strategies for Raising Healthy Kids
The post below was written by fellow parenting blogger, Daniel Sherwin, of DadSolo.com.
You want your kids to lead healthy, active lives, but it can be hard getting them to engage when computer games and cell phones have their attention. Help them practice good health habits by incorporating these strategies into your lifestyle.
Involve Them in Mealtime
When simply serving your children dinner, it can be easy for them to be disinterested in the food. Engage your kids in the process from beginning to end to get them more invested and eating healthier.
Look up healthy meals they might like and then allow your children to pick which ones you will prepare together. Bring your kids along with you to the grocery store and let them help choose the items you’ll bring home. By having a say in what will be on the menu, they’ll feel more engaged and look forward to the process.
You could also choose a meal subscription service and allow your kids to choose the meals from the available selection. Research meal kits ahead of time to make sure they have healthy options.
When the time comes to prepare the meal, have your children help you cook it. Even if there are some steps they can’t do, Cooking Light points out they can help with other parts of the process, like bringing you ingredients or stirring when necessary. Toddlers can help in small ways and will appreciate feeling more grown-up. You might even invest in some age-appropriate cooking tools so their little hands can work more efficiently, and so that you don’t have to worry about them getting cut or damaging your adult-friendly kitchen gadgets.
When they’ve worked hard and invested their time and energy in planning and cooking healthy food, they will feel more invested in eating it, and you will have helped give them a life skill they can use forever, especially if you continue this through their adolescence, preparing increasingly complex dishes together.
Encourage Them To Stay Active
As Thrive Global explains, it’s important for children to see the adults in their lives modeling positive behaviors. If your kids associate exercise as something enjoyable that you can do together as a family, they are more likely to want to get their bodies moving for the positive feelings it gives them.
Encourage this by frequently being active together as a family. Weekend hiking trips, cycling, swimming together, and skiing and snowboarding in cold weather are all very physical and fun things for families to take on.
Look for options that will be engaging for your family regardless of the weather, too. You can sign up for activities that you can practice together indoors or out, such as karate. Karate and other martial arts classes have been shown to not only help improve strength and endurance but to help with focus and self-esteem. Classes concentrate on teaching kids character as well as the principles of karate.
Make Learning Fun
If kids associate learning with activity, they will find it more enjoyable. There are many ways to incorporate learning into your outdoor, active lifestyles. You can create educational scavenger hunts for when you go hiking as a family. Conduct science experiments in the backyard. Even something as simple as practicing writing letters and sight words in the dirt or sand can be fun for little kids.
It doesn’t have to be limited to daytime, either. Kids love getting to be active at night and learning about astronomy is a fun way to spend time together that has practical benefits as they grow. You can add a telescope to their learning tools, and even arrange constellations on their ceilings so they can fall asleep “under the stars.”
Of course, modeling good behavior applies here, too. Find subjects you’re interested in and do some reading and research in your downtime and talk a little about it with your family, whether it’s beekeeping, historical fiction or computer science. If you always wished you could earn a degree, maybe it’s time to go back to school. There are colleges that offer flexible programs, so you can earn that bachelor of science in education degree you’ve always wanted and even advance your career.
Getting your kids to make healthy choices means getting involved with them. Teach them to make healthy meals, be active as a family and learn together when they’re little to set them up for a lifetime of health and happiness.