Raising children is an extremely rewarding experience. However, it is also really hard. Every day, you are shaping the heart and mind of a person that you will eventually have to send out into the world to take care of him- or herself. You are also helping to shape how they see themselves and the value of loving who they are.
In the society that we live in, it isn’t always easy to teach children to love themselves. Sometimes, too much value is placed on appearance and body image. That can make children feel uncomfortable in their own skin, and cause them to feel bad about who they are. It is so important to focus on helping your children have a healthy relationship with food and exercise, so you can teach them to be healthy and strong. By doing that, you will give them the gift of knowing how to care for their body for the rest of their life. Here are some basic tips to help you guide your children on this important matter.
When you are talking to your child about their physical health or body, words matter. Be careful never to tell your child they are overweight or heavy. Those words can be painful. You also don’t want to tell them they need to be thin. When you are talking about goals for physical fitness and eating habits, always tell your child you are making choices to stay healthy and strong. That is all they need to hear.
Always offer healthy choices
You have to remember that you are the adult and that your child can’t buy the food that comes into your home. So make sure always to offer healthy choices. Every meal should have fruits, vegetables, and protein. If your child eats their entire meal and then wants more, offer more fruits and vegetables to fill them up. Snacks are important, too. Offer fresh foods for snacks, and limit the amount of sugary snacks. They may not always want what you are offering, so you can give more than one choice, as long as they are healthy choices.
Teach your children to eat until they are full
The “clean plate club” is a thing if the past. Forcing children to eat an entire plate is not only frustrating, but it can also form a bad habit. The better lesson here is to teach your child to eat until they are full. If that means they eat only half of their dinner, that is fine. You just want them to understand that they should stop when they are full. It will teach them to listen to their body and stay healthier.
Make fitness a part of life for the whole family
Fitness is a big part of being healthy and strong. Making fitness a goal for your whole family will help everyone move more. With the amount of screen time that children sometimes get, you need to balance that out with physical activity. Spend time outside together. Go hiking, ride bikes, or walk to the playground. There are so many fun things to do together. And when you are all disconnected from technology, you will make some really great memories, too.
Never put your child on a diet
If your child is overweight, talk to their doctor about ways to help your child achieve some health and fitness goals without putting them on a diet. You do not want to make your child have a lifelong battle with their weight by getting them concerned so young about a number on a scale. It just isn’t healthy for them.
Raising healthy, strong children can be easier than you think. You just need to focus on the healthy habits that you know are best and the rest will fall into place. Be a good example by following the same guidelines for yourself, and you will all be healthier and stronger together.