Teach Your Children How to Make Healthy Choices

Introducing our guest blogger, Amanda Henderson, who shares her expertise on  parenting and keeping children safe.  Check out her fantastic tips!

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What you teach your children early on has a major impact on the person they become in the future. If you encourage them, show your support, and make sure they know they are loved, they will grow up to be confident and go after the things they really want in life. However, if you don’t put in the effort, your kids can fall into some pretty unhealthy habits that will sneak up on them later on in life. No parent is perfect — there are always things you won’t think of doing. But the following healthy choices are simple things that all parents can do to contribute to the overall well being of their children.

Be Active and Exercise

Modern societies are way more sedentary than we need to be and the proof is written all over the scale. Since the 1980s, obesity rates have doubled among adults and more than tripled among children. In the United States, more than two out of every three adults are considered either overweight or obese and one in six children are considered obese. All that excess weight has serious health implications. Those who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing illnesses and issues including:

  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Gout
  • Chronic pain
  • Mental illness
  • Certain cancers

Being active and exercising regularly can help prevent excessive weight gain and the health problems that accompany it. Fortunately, most kids really love being active. In fact, they can’t get enough of it. It’s only over time with overexposure to television, the Internet, and video games that kids stop going outside to play. Teach your kids to put away the screen and enjoy being active as much as possible. Get them involved in sports or other after school activities that encourage exercise such as dance classes. Go on family walks after dinner to help unwind and promote digestion. These little things can instill a love of exercise in your children that they take with them for years to come.

Eat Well

Children are notoriously picky eaters, but you may be surprised at what you can get your kid to eat if you simple involve him or her in the food preparation process. From buying your groceries to cooking the meals, bring your kids along and talk with them about what you buy and make. Demystifying vegetables and showing them how the sauce is prepared helps relieve their anxieties regarding an unknown food so they are more excited to try it. Eating a well-balanced diet full of variety helps encourage everything from brain development to skin health, so your child will have fewer health problems as they grow.

Another benefit of implementing healthy eating in your household is how budget friendly it can be.  

  • Buy healthy staples such as dried grains and whole-wheat pasta in bulk.
  • Eat a low cost breakfast everyday.
  • Take advantage of supermarket deals on healthy choices.
  • Buy fruits and veggies that are in season to get the best prices.
  • Don’t forget about frozen — buying produce in the freezer aisle is cost-effective and contains about the same amount of nutrients as fresh.
  • Cut out meat one day a week to save money and reduce your family’s saturated fat intake.

Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

Having a set bedtime as well as a time to wake up helps create routine and structure in your child’s life. Beyond that, your child needs enough sleep for his or her healthy development. One in three people do not get enough sleep as adults. This can lead to poor work or school performance, moodiness, weight gain and a host of other health problems. Teaching your children the importance of rest and keeping a regular sleep schedule early on can help prevent them from becoming that one in three.

Amanda Henderson is a mom to two wonderful, active boys and a preschool teacher. She enjoys writing in her free time, and recently decided to create Safechildren so that she would have a place to share her thoughts and favorite resources on parenting and child safety. 

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