So recently I had to teach a health class to a group of 8 year old girls about how to live a healthy lifestyle. It was a fun experience for me and was great to see the girls being excited about keeping their bodies healthy. I was nervous going into it thinking that the girls would not care about what I had to say or even know what I was talking about but it was the complete opposite. I came up with 4 basic steps that they could work on themselves and have as a basic foundation for the rest of their lives to build on. So don’t think you can’t start teaching your children now about things they can do themselves to live healthier.
1. Eat a Variety of Foods
Kids do not need to worry so much about calories or how many carbohydrates are in a certain food. But instead should focus on trying to eat different and new kids of foods. Teach your child that they may have a food that is their favorite but that in order to stay healthy and get the nutrients your body needs they need to eat a variety of foods. Introduce new and healthy foods to your child and if they don’t like it the first time try it again later on as they may like it then. Also teach your child about processed foods and why they are not good for them. Show them the difference between store bought packaged food and fresh fruit and veggies.
2. Drink Water and Milk
Teach your kids the importance of water and that their bodies need it to function. Offer water to your child after they have played outside and our thirsty. Tell them to try and drink at least 6-8 glasses a day. Another important thing for kids especially young children to drink is milk. They need milk to help form strong bones and teeth. If your child don’t like milk have them eat other dairy products equivalent to milk. The key here is to teach them to not only drink juice, soda, or any other kind of sugar drink as their main form of liquid.
3. Listen to Your Body
What does it feel like to be full? When your child is eating teach them to “listen” to what their body is telling them. Do they feel full after what they have eaten or are they still hungry. Are they eating because they are bored or the food is available? Learning to listen to their bodies ques is such an important concept that will help them the rest of their lives. Teach them that eating to much will make them feel uncomfortable and over time can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
4. Be Active
Teach your child to find ways to be active every single day. Help them find something they enjoy doing that will get them moving. Sit down together and make a list of active activities they could do. That way you have something to refer to when you tell your child to do something besides watch TV or Etc. Also teach your child some fun exercises they could perform during a commercial break of their favorite show. (Star jumps, Crab kicks, Push-ups, Mountain climbers, Donkey kicks) Being active is very important for your kids but it also should be fun.
It is important as parents to teach children about healthy living and why it is so important but as we all know children learn best by example. If we as parents don’t emulate these steps in our own lives then we should not expect our own children to do so either. Lets help teach and show our children guidelines to build a healthy lifestyle in hopes to build a more healthy generation.