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22 Nov, 2018

Unicef World Children Day – Setting good examples for your children’s health

Children’s health

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.

Drinking

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.

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.

Fitness

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.

Eating healthy

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.

Mental Health

Eating healthy and exercising is great for mental health, however your children will inevitable be exposed to stress and other mental health obstacles. 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;

  • Encouragement – this helps develop their desire to explode and learn new things
  • Set realistic goals – Choose activities that test their abilities and increase their self- confidence
  • Be honest – create a honesty culture in your household, don’t hide your failures from your children as there is most likely a great lesson they can learn from it.
  • Social Media – It is known now that too much exposure to Social Media has negative impacts on your childs mental health. They aspire to reach unattainable lifestyles and images. Read Do you know what your child is exposed to online? For tips on how to mange what your child does online and how to talk to them about it.