Children love to imitate and are usually watching your every move. They learn as much from your actions as they do from your words. So, if your lifestyle is geared towards health, nutrition and fitness, they will pick up the same attitudes and most likely want to follow in your foot steps.
Start by examining your daily eating habits. Did you eat breakfast this morning? If so, did you eat a nutritious one consisting of whole grains, fruit and milk? If you were in a hurry, did you take the time to prepare and take a nutritious on the go breakfast with you as you were headed out the door? Think of the consequences for each of these actions. Both result in positive reinforcement. Your children will pick up these great habits and carry them through to their adult years. That is how eating and being healthy now affects your children later in life.
Perhaps you did not have time to eat breakfast and simply rushed out the door. This type of behavior will certainly have an impact on your children. By making unhealthy choices like this one, you and your children are suffering. You are sending unhealthy messages to them and if they see a discrepancy between what you expect from them and what you do yourself, they will continue to imitate your actions regardless of what you tell them.
Mixed messages are never good. If you are sending your children mixed messages regarding eating, lifestyle and exercise, you need to adopt some new habits. If you make a definite plan by following established positive habits, your children will benefit and will continue to follow your lead. Here are 12 good examples you can put into action today to help your children learn how eating, exercising and being healthy now affects your them later in life:
- Be physically active every day.
- Become involved in a physically active lifestyle. Enjoy fitness activities with your children and model the healthy fitness habits that you want them to learn.
- Start practicing these healthy lifestyle habits early in your children’s life. The earlier your children start the more likely they are to practice these habits longer.
- Decrease television viewing time and other non-physical activities.
- Make healthy food choices which include 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
- Incorporate fruit, vegetables and dairy products for both meals and snacks and eat your meals and snacks consistently.
- Never skip breakfast.
- Drink only water and/or milk with meals.
- Decrease you and your children’s consumption of junk food, soft drinks, foods high in fat or sugar.
- Eat fruit for dessert or simply skip dessert.
- Eat one meal per day with your entire family.
- Turn the television off during meals.
Eating nutritious food, increasing physical activity and making better lifestyle choices are key factors in helping your children grow to be healthy, happy and fit. By being a great role model for your children, you are not only helping them develop good lifestyle habits and skills but you are creating a better future for them. You are also spending quality time that they will cherish for the rest of their happy and healthy long lives.