Childhood is perhaps the most crucial stage in development; the foundation for many future behaviors, habits, and traits is laid during this time.
The most significant influence on a child’s development during childhood is that of parents and older family members. Thus these members are best positioned to instill healthy habits in their children.
Such influence is not just limited to habits but also dietary choices, personalities, interests, and much more.
Make sure your influence on your kids is nothing but positive. They depend upon you for their future; what you teach them is all they learn for a very long period before they attend school.
A healthy lifestyle is one where the child eats healthily, can care for themselves, develop good social relationships, and ensure their psychological well-being.
If you are looking for tips on promoting a healthy lifestyle in your children, you have come to the right place. Following are some handy tips for you:
- Eat together
Nothing is more important than good relationships with family members during childhood. Having secure attachments with the parents – especially the mother – and siblings is crucial to healthy psychological growth.
At least one meal during the day should be shared as a family. This is the right time to model good eating habits and oversea portion sizes.
Talking during the meal will encourage slower eating, which is also healthier since it promotes more chewing.
Research by the University of Florida proves that eating as a family reduces the likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse. While the threat of substance use emerges later, it is always better to be cautious.
If your child falls victim to substance use at any point, treatment centers like the Delphi Behavioral Health Group can help you out.
The study also showed that eating together strengthens familial bonds, helps kids adjust better, ensures a nutritious diet, and prevents obesity.
- Become more involved in your child’s life
Your child expects and deserves your attention at school and home. At home, engage in activities with your kids; go for a walk in the park on weekends, take your pet for a stroll, play your child’s favorite sport at home, or sit by when your child is painting.
The more involved you are, the more protected and loved your child will feel.
At school, make sure you are aware of your child’s behavior; is their attitude towards others a depiction of cooperation or hostility? Do they respect their teachers? What food do they eat?
Instead of giving the child money to get something from the school canteen, prepare a healthy lunch for them.
- Don’t let them miss out on breakfast
The most important meal of the day is breakfast. Research confirms a correlation between skipping breakfast and obesity; the likelihood of obesity is four times greater for those who go without breakfast than those who take breakfast.
Breakfast is also known to promote healthier eating habits and more physical activity.
On the other hand, skipping breakfast leads to lethargy, tiredness, restlessness, and irritability. Children who go to school without breakfast don’t have enough fuel and energy to get through the day or grasp what they’re taught.
But, with breakfast, they get sufficient fiber and calcium, which helps enhance their attention and memory.
Also, make sure that the breakfast your kids have is healthy. A healthy breakfast combines the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
Sugary cereals or pastries do not give children enough nutrients to get through the day.
- Don’t use food as a reward
While it is undoubtedly a good idea to use positive reinforcement to promote good habits in children, using food as a reward is not right.
This type of childhood reinforcement develops an unhealthy future relationship with food; they would see food as a special reward that brings pleasure and would not learn how to limit its consumption.
If your kid receives candy every time they do something good, they may come to see candy as a pleasant reinforcer and will have trouble controlling their intake of sugary food in the future.
- Engage them in physical activities
Today, the unfortunate infiltration of technology into our lives has limited children’s leisure-time activity to online games and videos.
Every other child you see would have some electronic device in their pockets or hands. As a result, physical activity has become a scarce choice as a leisure activity.
Physical activity is a crucial element of healthy growth; it is necessary for promoting good bone, muscle, lung, and heart strength.
It promotes a healthy weight, minimizes the risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and cancer, and enhances balance and coordination.
Physical activity, particularly group activities, promote better psychological well-being; it makes kids more confident, relaxed and encourages cooperation.
The recommended time spent on physical activity is three hours for children between 1 and 5 years and at least one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise for children over five years old.
- Promote the idea of responsibility
Being able to take on responsibility is a crucial trait for every individual; the foundations for this quality are laid in childhood.
Give your children responsibility for specific tasks; they should know that they are expected to fulfill them.
For instance, assign your kid the responsibility to plan their breakfast, complete household chores like feeding the pet animal, etc.
When children are given responsibility for tasks, they learn time management, self-discipline and expect inevitable consequences for their actions.
Research proves that responsible children have greater self-esteem, can delay gratification, and deal with frustration well.
- Minimize the use of technology
Where technology has made life a lot easier, it has also impacted children’s physical and mental growth. Monitor your kid’s screen time; it is best not to give your child a personal electronic device.
Becoming aware of the world around one and focusing on the present is essential. Hands-on experience with toys that promote cognitive development will lead to a healthier future.
Let your child play with Lego, puzzles, stack toys, and memory games instead of online or video games on electronic gadgets.
Your kid’s psychological and physical development depends mainly on your choices. Promote a healthy lifestyle for your child and see the positive impact.
For a healthier living environment, encourage family activities, eat together, become more involved in their lives, keep them physically active, promote responsibility, and reduce exposure to technology.
Every decision you take at this point will have some effect or another on your child’s future; make sure it is a positive one