children learn by observation, the best way to teach your children anything is to set the example and become a role model for your child. The old “do as I say, not as I do” approach just doesn’t work. This is true when it comes to physical fitness and health. Children tend to follow in their parents’ footsteps more than we know.
Diet and physical activity play an important role in keeping children adults physically fit. Since obesity is on the rise, especially among children. Childhood obesity affects about 12.7 million according to the CDC.
It’s clear that something needs to be done. It can start at home with parents setting the example for their children. Studies show that children who are more physically active aren’t just physically healthier but they also perform better academically.
Practice What You Preach
As the adult, it’s important that your words match your actions. If you talk the talk, it’s important to walk the walk. If you believe that physical fitness and diet are important, then you must show that to your children by not eating one more cookie or having a consistent workout routine.
Show to your children that you make time to get in a workout even in your busy schedule. When dining out show them how to make a health decision when picking food off the menu.
Show Them It’s Fun
Show the kids that it’s fun to exercise and be physically fit. If you grumble before you go for a run, walk or look miserable at the idea of turning down a donut, it’ll be difficult for kids to do differently.
Now, remember that working out or being physically active does not mean that you have to run and or go to the gym to lift weights. It can be any activity that gets your heart rate up. If you like volleyball play volleyball, or soccer or even hiking!
Offering a lot of healthy, delicious whole foods, that no one has to say no to, plus making it a family affair to go out for a walk each night before or after dinner will help children know that fitness if fun!
Be Open To New Ideas
Children have great ideas and love to give their input into their daily lives too. Listen to the children’s ideas about what they’d like to eat that is healthy as well as what type of physical activities they want to participate in. If you’re open to trying a new food, or a new type of fitness routine, they’ll be more open to it too. And if it’s their idea, they’re more likely to stick with it.
Admit to Your Own Bad Habits
If you have some bad habits such as not always eating right, failing to exercise or even worse, smoking; admit to it. Then on changing it. Tell your kids why what you’ve been doing is wrong and let them see that you’re working towards resolving the issue.
The more they see you change bad habits, the more they will follow your lead or better yet, not take up the bad habits in the first place.
Ask For Help
A good role model is not afraid to ask for help. Demonstrating your willingness to ask for help when you need it will give your children permission to ask for help when they need it. If you need help sticking to your diet or fitness goals, ask the children to help you do it. If you do more things together, it’ll be easier to stick to and your kids will also identify their own issues that they need help with.
Whether you want to be or not, you’re a role model for your children and likely a few others. Demonstrate the best you can the type of life you hope they’ll choose, while admitting your shortcomings and children will appreciate it!