Teaching Kids to Make Healthy Life Choices
As a parent, it is important to be a role model to help your child develop good habits such as – being compassionate, making healthy food choices, learning to be independent, and more.
Habits aren’t developed in a day and sometimes you may even face resistance from your child towards making a behavioral change. In this article by Compassionate Press, we explore a few simple ways to teach your child healthy habits which aid in their development and help them grow into a knowledgeable and responsible individual.
Encourage Healthy Eating
It's common knowledge that kids are picky eaters. However, by actively involving them in the cooking process you can improve their nutrition knowledge and find creative ways to make them eat their veggies. Here are a few ways to do it:
Teach your child how to read food labels. Make it a game to compare labels of various cereals and snacks and ask your child to choose the one they feel is healthier.
- Actively ask for their assistance in the kitchen, whether it's to hand you vegetables or press the power button for the blender. Interacting with the ingredients helps reduce their resistance towards trying them.
- For foods that aren’t their favorite, try new ways to incorporate them into their diet. With fruits, you can make a tasty milkshake with their favorite ice cream or add dry fruits into a bowl of their go-to yogurt.
- Develop the habit of eating fruits as a snack rather than processed foods. Following your lead, your child will start doing the same.
Moderate Screen Time
According to a study, children spend between 8-10 hours a day in front of screens such as a laptop or tablet, exposing them to high levels of harmful blue light.
An effective method to reduce screen use is creating screen-free zones in your home which can include the kitchen and dining table. Additionally, set specific stop times for using devices. For example, post-dinner engages in family activities such as playing a board game, relaxing in your garden or living room, having a conversation with your kids, or reading their favorite storybook.
However, remember that you as the parent need to act as the catalyst for change. If your kids find you on your phone while you restrict them to do the same, it will cause them to resist the change.
Focus on Sleeping Well
According to Healthy Children, kids require anywhere between 9-12 hours of sleep daily, which can be achieved by inculcating the following habits:
Creating a set routine for waking up, eating, playing, and sleeping.
- Eating at least three hours before bedtime to allow proper digestion avoid sleep disturbances.
- Avoid using electronic devices at least an hour before sleeping.
- Make your child’s bed a safe and comfortable place to sleep. Create a bedtime routine that can involve a bath or story time to help them fall asleep faster.
Make sleeping well a family priority by diligently following a lights-out policy at a specific time. This will help inculcate the habit of sleeping early, allowing your child to feel rested and active each day.
Provide Financial Education
The best way to make kids understand the value of money is to make them earn it. Start with assigning tasks around your house such as cleaning rooms, helping in the kitchen, setting up the dining table, etc., and paying them a weekly allowance on completion. Next, instruct them to purchase what they want using their savings. This will motivate them to learn how to create a budget.
An easy way to help your child budget is by providing them two jars, one each for spending and saving. Allow them the freedom to put as much money they want in each jar. In time they will understand the importance of saving, the time it takes to afford commodities, and the advantages of delayed gratification.
As parents, providing sound financial education to kids right from childhood will help them improve their decision-making skills, and learn how to effectively manage money.
Inculcating these good habits will take time and consistency. As a parent, encourage your child through this process and remain diligent in following these habits yourself as well.
Written by Kristin Louis
Kristin is a writer collaborator for Compassionate Press, you can find her at www.parentingwithkris.com for more amazing parenting tips!