While teaching your child the difference between right and wrong can help them better understand what a healthy lifestyle looks like, most good habits are learned with practice. A recent study claims that children start developing habits at age 9. If you establish healthy behaviors with children during their formative years, these habits are more likely to stick with them and become part of their daily routine.
Children learn primarily by imitating adult behaviors, especially their parents. Modeling the habits you want to see in your children and participating in activities with them are often the most effective ways to encourage children to live healthy lives. Presented by 4kidzsports.org, here are three activities you can take on as a family to work together toward better overall wellness.
Play a Family Sport
The benefits of exercise are countless. Regular physical activity helps children get better sleep at night, decreases anxiety and depression, supports a healthy weight, and reduces the risk of developing some conditions.
However, the appeal of screen time can overpower kids’ desire to get outside, leading to a sedentary lifestyle. Sports are an effective way to help children discover an activity they love that releases mood-regulating hormones, such as dopamine, serotonin, and no epinephrine. Sports also allow kids to set goals and build relationships with other team members.
Finding a new sport to try together as a family is a great bonding experience and allows you to model prioritizing physical health. Martial arts are a rewarding activity for people of all ages and teach unique skills, such as self-defense.
Learn as a Family
Children may resist doing homework, especially when they’d rather be trying out a new toy or playing with their friends. However, maintaining a positive attitude toward education and joining in on the learning encourages kids to focus. While there will be times children need to concentrate on their studies and complete schoolwork on their own, try to designate some time at least once a week for learning together.
For younger children, do flashcards or read books together. Older children may just need you to be available to help with homework while you work on furthering your own knowledge. If you’ve been putting off earning an advanced degree, now is the time to set a strong example. Completing an IT, education, or business online degree program allows you the flexibility to learn at home with your kids while giving you the skills you need to pursue your dream job.
Grocery Shop Together
While taking your kids to the grocery store may have been a major source of stress in the past, they’re less likely to act up if you involve them in the process and make it fun. Start at home by finding recipes, creating a list together, and sticking to it. Make sure to include many healthy options and stock up on all the major food groups, especially proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
Enlist the help of your children to find the ingredients and take time to explain the benefits of purchasing organic or locally sourced food. You can also take a trip to the farmer’s market to show your child there is more than one option for finding healthy, delicious food.
Children enjoy spending time with their parents and look up to them as an example of how to navigate unknown situations in life. By making an effort to participate in healthy activities with your kids, you help them develop habits that can make them happy children and, eventually, content adults.
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Article by: Jenny Miller