Most parents can probably agree that their most important priority is that their child is healthy and happy, so we’re always looking for ways to ensure we’re encouraging our kids to make healthy choices. Except it can be a real struggle in the days of computer consoles and social media to encourage kids of any age to get up and out, and appreciate the world around them. It’s all about making healthy decisions the fun option – it takes a bit of time and planning, but the results are totally worth it.
Get yourselves a pet
A family dog is a great choice for people who have a bit of free time, and want to encourage their kids to get outside and get some exercise, but it can be a big commitment. Other pets, while still requiring commitment, are a little bit less effort, and can still teach children important life skills such as empathy, and responsibility for other living animals. Family pets also expose people to new bacteria, which isn’t as bad as it sounds – it can actually help to boost their immune systems and make them healthier in later life.
Make mealtime fun
Trying to get kids to enjoy healthy food can be a constant uphill battle, and one which it’s tempting to give up on. Some children are notoriously fussy eaters, but parents have found that making mealtimes fun, family events encourages children to eat more varied and healthier foods, and also making more adventurous choices. Improving your child’s diet doesn’t just have to be sneaking spinach into fruit smoothies, it can also be a case of making mealtimes entertaining and fun, and teaching the importance of healthy choices.
Enforce a bedtime routine
Getting children to sleep can be a little bit like dealing with a drunk friend in our party days, especially when they don’t think they’re tired. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine and consistently enforcing it teaches children the importance of going to bed, but also allows their body to get used to the process, making it easier for them to fall asleep. A relaxing bath, hot milk, and story time followed by lights out tends to work, with all electronic screens and sugary food banned after dinner time. Make sure you reward good behaviour and stress-free nights, there’s nothing quite like positive reinforcement.
Find a sporty family interest
When television has so many options and there’s a new computer game out every day, trying to get kids outside and active can be tricky. A sporty family interest that you can all join in with together means parents can lead by example. It could be softball in the park in the summer, waterskiing on the lake, or hiking in the hills, but mom and dad have to get involved too. Not only will health be improved, but hand-eye coordination and social skills will also get a boost too. It might even give them the confidence to join a local sports team, which is the ultimate healthy decision!
Healthy choices shouldn’t just be enforced like a chore, they have to be fun and enjoyable for the whole family; after all, bringing kids up is all about leading by example.