Children today live in a world that’s changing rapidly. Processed foods are the new norm and electronic devices are replacing activity. If you’re concerned that your children are caught up in the fast lane, it’s time to put your parenting skills into motion and have a talk about what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle.
A healthy diet
It’s important for children to eat the right foods. Young children should eat within every three to four hours. If you have several children it might be best to create a schedule for their three meals and two snacks provided throughout the day. Things like fruits, yogurts, and whole grain crackers make wonderful energy snacks that nourish their bodies while also offering essential vitamins and nutrients they need. If you work and have a babysitter tending to your little one’s make sure that you outline the acceptable snacks ahead of time. If you create a healthy lifestyle early on, your children will carry their good eating habits into adulthood. If your child is older and has put on a few pounds, now is a great time to explain the food groups and how eating foods that are high in fat will cause them to gain weight. Making changes now will help them grow up strong and lean.
Importance of exercise
Even if you have your children on a healthy diet if they don’t get enough exercise they can still gain weight. Advancements in technology help make life easier. However, playing video games and texting all day isn’t getting the exercise their bodies need. It’s time to put down the games and take away their cell phones and encourage physical activity. You can sign you and your family up for a gym membership, or simply create times where the family engages in exercise. It can be a brisk walk, swimming at the YMCA, playing a game of tennis, catch, anything, just to get their bodies moving. Children have lots of energy they need to release. Set aside an hour each day dedicated to any physical activity they want. Again, if children learn these habits early, they will retain them as adults and avoid obesity.
Avoiding Drugs and alcohol
The last thing a parent wants to discover is that their child is abusing drugs or alcohol. If your child is experimenting with either, have a talk and discuss what drug and alcohol abuse does to their body and mind. Addiction kills their hopes and dreams, not to mention it can take their life. If it’s out of control and your talks don’t seem to get anywhere, schedule an appointment with a therapist. Or, better yet, take them to a treatment center for hard drugs or MDMA rehab and let them see first-hand what can happen to them.
Get them involved in sports
Children need interaction with their peers. When they spend too much time at home they get bored. This is when they can resort to overeating or drug and alcohol abuse. Many parents find that by keeping their children involved in sports they feel better about them, find new friends and get in the exercise they need. Find out what sport your child enjoys playing. It could be football, soccer, swimming, tennis or track. Being part of a team also teaches them discipline, leadership and how to work together as a unit. These are all essential skills they will use later in life
Unfortunately, there isn’t a handbook given when your children are born that tells you how to do things. Most of what a parent does comes through trial and error. If you want your children to grow up to healthy, well-rounded adults, it’s important to instill good eating habits, daily exercise and an open line of communication early in their lives.