As parents, we want to teach our kids everything they need to know to help them enjoy their lives and be happy. How to kick a ball, make friends, treat others well. We help teach them to read, write, and create. We’re responsible for encouraging them to form good habits, promoting healthier lifestyles.
Our kids, on the other hand, can seem to have a penchant for the not so healthy. Too many cookies, too much candy, tablets’ and television. Not enough brushing their teeth, eating their veggies, or doing their chores.
At times it can feel like we’re battling The Dark Side! We’re being the bad guys for trying to make them be good. So how do we do it? How do we get our kids in the habit of being healthy?
None of us like to hear what we can’t do, but as a parent, I sometimes hear myself setting negative rules for my kids. Common examples include ‘No television until you’ve finished your homework’ or ‘No playing until you’ve done your chores’. Notice they both start with ‘No’.
Kids, as well as adults, hate that word. For example, saying ‘No chocolate until you eat your veggies!’ makes veggies the enemy because they’re in the way of chocolate. Instead, encourage them to eat vegetables by giving equally good choices. ‘Would you like your carrots steamed or raw?’ is a good one. ‘Let’s go outside and play some Frisbee before we clean up our rooms!’ is another, especially if you sound truly excited about it!
I’ve been there and you probably have too. ‘Do your homework and you can have…’. It’s probably that you’ve finished that sentence with the words ‘candy’, ‘computer time’, or some other not so healthy treat. (Is it a bribe or an incentive? There’s a whole other topic for conversation!) Next time, try completing it with ‘swimming’, ‘playing hide and seek’, or some other physical activity. Doing something fun with them can give them the motivation to get the task done quickly.
‘But Adrian’ you tell me ‘won’t that mean I have to go swimming too?’ I know you just said that, which brings me to point 3…
To quote Pooh Bear: ‘It’s so much more friendly with two’. Getting healthy is best done as a group activity, one that everyone gets involved in. Not only are you spending quality time with your kids, but you’re both staying healthy through physical exercise. One of the biggest drivers to keeping yourself to a fitness plan is having a peer to encourage you. It might seem odd to think of your children as your peers, but they can easily be your fitness peers. Kick a ball around or take turns swinging a bat. Everything is much more pleasant when there’s a 2nd person with you.
With your help, your kids can live a long, healthy life. At the same time, maybe they can help you to do the same.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share on how to encourage kids to live healthier lives? We’d love to hear from you. Share your comments in the ‘Leave a reply’ section below.