6 Ways You Can Help Your Children Live Healthier, Happier Lives
The following post was submitted by Amanda Henderson of Safe children.
Helping kids make healthy choices can be tricky. But healthy habits learned in childhood tend to stick a little better as those kids become adults. What we eat, how we work out and the way we handle stress can make a difference in our health and happiness, so it’s crucial to help your children make better choices. Here are six solutions for helping your family live a little healthier each day.
Go Grocery Shopping Together
Shopping for healthy foods can take some skill. Grocery stores tend to be set up to make you choose processed, unhealthy foods, so take your kids along and show them how to shop like a healthy pro. Stick to outer aisles, where produce, healthy proteins and fresh foods are typically kept. Look for coupons and specials to help you shop on a budget but know that healthy foods tend to cost a little less than processed options anyhow. When you hit the middle aisles, look for healthy grains and snacks. Teach your children how to read nutrition labels and be on the lookout for hidden sugars and fat.
Prepare and Cook Meals With Your Family
One of the best ways to help your kids stick to healthy eating is to teach them to make meals at home. Cooking also can be a great stress reliever, so getting your family into the kitchen can have multiple benefits. Go over food and kitchen safety with your children before you begin to prevent cuts and burns. Watch little ones as they use appliances, cooking surfaces and knives, or find kid-friendly options to make cooking safer.
Show Your Kids How to Stay Healthy While Eating Out
Eating at home may be the best way to stay healthy, but your family’s hectic schedule may make eating on the go necessary. You can curb eating out with some meal prep but when going to restaurant is more convenient, take some time to help your kids make smart choices. Try to stick with high protein, grilled options and watch out for hidden salt and sugar. Choose water over sugary sodas and don’t order more food than you need.
Promote Exercise and Play
Staying active is essential to maintaining good health, but that can be challenging with kids. Video games, phones and television make it all too easy for children to spend hours on the couch, which can be detrimental to their health. Turn off the electronics and encourage your kids to get outside and play. Get in the backyard for a healthy game of hide-and-seek or play tag together. Getting up and moving can help prevent obesity and disease in children and adults.
Encourage Healthy Hobbies
Hobbies can be a healthy means of relieving stress and developing the mind. Start early and help your children find hobbies that are constructive and creative. Set up a space to let loose with art or invest in some lessons with an instrument. Studies show that playing music can have benefits for children, so getting your kids playing a piano or violin is a good investment. You can even help get your kids outside to explore with fun hobbies including bird watching, gardening or biking.
Foster Good Sleep Hygiene
Most kids hate bedtime and it can be tempting to let them stay up late. But getting a good night’s sleep can be more beneficial to your child’s health than diet, exercise or stress relief. Sleep is essential for brain development and the maintenance of our immune system, so letting your kids skip sleep could set them up for serious issues later in life. Stick to set wake up and bedtime schedules, even during school breaks and weekends and help them get into a good nighttime routine.
Your kids’ happiness is important to you and good health can be the key to a happy life. Getting your kids to make healthy choices when they are young will make it more likely for them to sustain their health as they get older. As difficult as it may be now, your kids will be thankful for these lessons, and ultimately, helping them live longer lives.
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