It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. ~ Frederick Douglass
If you’re a parent, you want your children to be healthy, happy and strong. You want them to make good choices in life and to build healthy habits. But so much going on in your world, it can be hard to know where to start. You may even need some help making healthy choices yourself. To keep your family safe and healthy, begin by making these smart moves with your kids.
Eat Clean and Healthy
Any healthy lifestyle should start with a healthy diet. Make sure your family sticks to clean, whole foods to keep kids growing and strong. Start with small changes and slowly get your kids used to eating food that’s good for them. Cut down on junk that your kids consume and replace these foods with healthy snacks instead. If you’re worried your busy schedules may keep you from eating healthy meals at home, think about doing some meal prep on the weekends.
Cut Down Caffeine and Sugar
If your family is addicted to sweets and sodas, they may be damaging their health. Try to limit the amount of caffeine and added sugars your kids consume to prevent bad habits from forming. Replace sodas with flavored water and use fruits instead of candy. Be on the lookout for hidden sugar and caffeine in foods as well. Sugar can be labeled in a variety of ways, while caffeine can sneak into chocolates.
Get to Know Your Kids’ Friends
It’s important for you to be a positive role model for your children, but they should also have positive influences from their friends. Take interest in the people your kids choose to hang out with at school. Invite friends and parents over to get to know them better. Always know who your kids are with if they get to go out. This is especially important for teens. Studies show that positive peer influence can help guide teens to success and happiness. Be sure that your own kids know how to be good friends to others as well.
Talk With Children About Alcohol and Drugs
Talking to your kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol may seem stressful, but you need to have these tough conversations to protect them. Start talking to your children as soon as they are old enough to understand and make sure you tackle these topics before they become teenagers. Kids may be exposed to drugs and alcohol at an early age, so it’s important for them to know how to make healthy choices.
Prevent Accidents in the Home
Your family should feel safe and comfortable at home. Stop accidents before they happen by setting up your home for safety. Keep dangerous items from getting into the hands of your children. Make sure toxic chemicals, appliances and sharp items are kept in a secure location where kids cannot access them. Use locks to prevent your kids from getting their hands on weapons, alcohol or prescriptions. For more home safety tips, be sure to check out Family Living Today for their free Home Safety Guide.
Encourage Them to Stay Active
With computers, cell phones, and TV, families are spending more of their time indoors. While some screen time can be beneficial, exercise is essential to maintaining good health. One of the easiest ways to encourage your kids to exercise and get them outside to play. Set limits on the time they get to use their screens and set up some fun activities for them to enjoy in the backyard. If your kids still need a little encouragement, try getting them involved in classes or team sports. Kids who stay active tend to have better self-esteem and an easier time learning, in addition to overall better health.
As the first role model for your children, you have the power to make a positive impact on their habits. Start by making healthy choices at home and then talk to them about the ways they can stay healthy for life. And always set a good example by making the same smart, healthy choices for yourself.
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