Making sure that your child is eating healthily can be both a challenge and a priority for many parents and carers and for many, this is one of the first steps in teaching children about the importance of following healthy habits. Teaching your children healthy habits from an early age is a great way to instil these habits for a lifetime so that they become healthy and active adults.
There are many ways in which you can teach your children healthy habits that will benefit them physically, emotionally, and mentally as they grow older. Remember, all children are different, so will respond in different ways when it comes to learning and adapting to new habits. With that being said, 5 healthy habits you should look to try and pass on to your children.
If you follow this when your children are at an early age, then following healthy eating habits will likely be something that your children do throughout their life. The saying ”you are what you eat” is true when it comes to healthy foods and when your children are still young, eating colorful, healthy foods with different tastes and textures isn’t just fun, but has huge health benefits too.
You don’t need to make every meal multicolored with fruit and vegetables, but as a parent, you should aim to ensure that each plate contains at least one portion of fruit or vegetables. Nature is beautiful and, as a result, fruits and vegetables come in a wide variety of different colors from reds and pinks to blues and greens, you can literally feed them the rainbow!
It’s not physically possible to get through life without making a mess, yet children are often taught that mess is bad meaning that they grow up surrounded by a stigma that making a mess is bad. But, it’s ok to make a mess, especially when you are doing something you enjoy!
If you have a baby between the ages of 6-12 months, then now is the time to introduce them to weaning and baby-led weaning introduces them to the different tastes and textures of foods, all on their own accord. This, of course, creates a mess, which some parents choose against in favor of traditional weaning. But baby-led weaning has been shown to make children less fussy eaters, plus they get to really enjoy their food!
By preparing for baby-led weaning using things such as weaning bibs with sleeves, suction bowls, and a selection of different fruits and vegetables to start them with, you’ll have a much easier journey without the worry of too much mess! As your children get older, messy garden play, cooking, baking, and imaginative play should all be encouraged without any repercussions (so long as they are responsible and help tidy up after they’ve finished!).
Not all children enjoy taking part in sports, not even all adults do, but it’s important to teach your children that regular, physical activity is important for a whole host of reasons. Not only does it help keep your body and heart-healthy, but can help with mental health too.
When children are young, try to spend at least a few hours each weekend doing something active, whether it’s a family swim session at the local pool, a fun bike ride, or trying something new and exciting such as rock climbing. By exposing them to different types of exercise and activities, they’re bound to find something that they enjoy!
When there are sweet juices and fizzy sodas, kids will naturally want to consume these over water. But, if you keep it simple in telling young children that drinking water is good for you and helps keep you healthy, they will be more inclined to drink it over unhealthy choices. If your child regular mentions that they are tired, are thirsty, can’t pay attention in class, or get headaches, then this could all be down to their hydration levels, of which water can help.
It’s also a good idea that, if your child is potty training, they drink plenty of water so that they are able to properly distinguish between needing to go to the toilet and not. Whilst you should always give a choice of what they want to eat and drink, if you make water more readily available for them to drink, then they will grow up learning that it’s important to stay hydrated and this will encourage them to drink more water.
With hectic family schedules, it’s easier to forget that spending time together as a family is hugely important for the health and wellbeing of your children. If they’re busy with school, after-school clubs, and activities and eat separately from adults, it can cause the family to feel out of sync. Enjoying family time together is important as it helps to build bonds and relationships with all family members, helping create a greater sense of happiness.
One of the easiest ways to spend more time together as a family is to enjoy mealtimes together. Not only does this help with family bonding and relationships, but it has been shown to actually create healthier eating habits, and children will eat a lot slower and actually enjoy their food. So, get together and enjoy mealtimes together!