In honour of Unicef World Children Day, we would like to have a look at how we set examples for our children’s health.
Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. – Robert Fulghum
For example, it’s great that you tell your children to eat your vegetables but don’t expect them to listen to you if you are not eating them yourself in front of them. Having good healthy habits that your children will imitate is the best health education you can give them.
From the time they come into this world, children learn how to live by observing and imitating the people around them. Children learn to process what they see and they make decisions about what to mimic and take part in certain behaviours by watching these people around them.
Showing your children how to have a healthy relationship with alcohol will benefit them throughout their lives. Drinking heavily may show your children that you try and solve problems in an unhealthy way. This will not improve your children’s health in the future.
Children who grow up watching their parents drink are more likely to become alcoholics themselves. As teenagers the region of the brain which is responsible for problem solving, decision-making, and judgment are not fully formed. This manifests itself in behaviours like promiscuous and unprotected sexual behaviour, rebelling against authority, and substance abuse. Moderation, on the other hand, provides children with a good model of responsible use.
Showing your children that a healthy fitness routine is essential for not only physical health but for mental health as well. Set aside designated workout time. This shows your children that exercising is a priority and you’re making a point to instil healthy habits for you and your family. Getting your children to understand and form a fitness routine early on in life will start a habit with them. They’ll notice the importance of fitness without you having to talk excessively to them about it.
Showing your children a good relationship with a healthy balanced diet can have positive effects on them for the rest of their lives.
Healthy family eating should not be simply about eating fruit and vegetables. It’s about eating a range of different foods, and enjoying treats as well. Don’t put too much emphasis on eating as you don’t want negative emotions to be associated with food. Either being too worried of gaining weight or using food as a coping mechanism.
You children will inevitably be exposed to stress and other mental obstacles, even if they exercise and eat healthy. Teaching your children to talk openly about their feeling and not to be ashamed if they are feeling down. Nurturing your children self-confidence and self-esteem is just as important as teaching them healthy eating and fitness habits. Different ways of achieving this are;