Written by Jason Kenner
There is no magic wand for creating healthy kids. It takes work and discipline, often your own, to parent children in a way that encourages them to make healthy choices.
If you're wondering what you can do now to help your kids grow up to be physically, mentally, and emotionally strong, Canada Personalized Gifts shares some tips.
Encourage Life-Long Learning
Being healthy is more than just eating fruits and vegetables. It's a whole-self process that includes the mind and personal development. In fact, lifelong learning is considered by some experts to be an indispensable tool in reaching your full potential.
Children look up to their parents and closely watch what they are doing, and as PsychCentral explains, they're likely to model the behaviours that they see at home. As such, you can encourage them to pursue personal growth and lifelong learning by doing so yourself. If there is something you've always wanted to do but have been afraid to try, show your kids that you're willing to take risks and go after it.
Also, look for ways to encourage your child to continue learning. As an example, Canada Personalized Gifts offers a number of great books that incorporate your child’s name into the story — this is a fantastic way to get them to explore the benefits of reading.
Help Them Find an Outlet
Too much stress can affect a person's health, no matter their age. You can help your children with good stress-reduction habits by assisting them in finding an outlet. For some children, that may be a team sport or a creative hobby, such as painting or drawing. For others, individual sports like martial arts can be a great way to blow off steam and learn focus and self-discipline. Plus, it’s a chance to learn self-defense skills, which could come in handy at any stage in life.
All parents are concerned about their children experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and this is one more area where modeling behaviours is the best thing you can do. Studies cited by The Conversation indicate that when parents use drugs, alcohol and tobacco, their families are more apt to experience insecurities. If you are a smoker, your children are much more likely to pick up this habit as well.
Quitting smoking is essential if you want to break that cycle. While it isn't easy, there are a few things you can do to ensure success:
- Try using quitting aids instead of going cold turkey
- Be prepared for nicotine withdrawal
- Make a list of reasons to quit that you can look at when you have a craving
- Get your family involved
Not only will giving up cigarettes make you healthier, but it will also show your children that you can accomplish hard things.
Take Care of Your Own Mental Health
Good mental health is an essential part of good overall wellbeing. Without it, you may struggle to make healthy decisions and live a full and vibrant life. The best way to help your children build mental resilience is to take charge of your own mental health. Don't be afraid to pursue therapy, and let your children know what you're doing.
If you aren't feeling your best, don't keep your family in the dark. Vulnerability on your part will give your kids the courage to speak up when they're feeling low, too.
Consider also your living environment and how it contributes to any feelings of tension or frustration. If your home is scattered and disorganized, this can manifest in behaviours like lashing out or feeling overwhelmed. Because you and your children deserve a healthy home life, make a point to clean and declutter, add a few plants and some feel-good artwork, and set up an organization system so everyone feels the benefits of order.
Raising healthy kids takes effort on the parents' part, but it is work worth doing. Remember the importance of living a healthy life yourself and being an example that your children will draw from both now and in the future.