It’s said the apple does not fall far from the tree. As a parent, you pass more than genes down to your children. Kids pick up your habits too—both good and bad. Parents are the first, and most important, role models for their children. Children possess the incredibly powerful skill of observation and will model their behavior from what they see at home. The best way to raise children with positive self-esteem and healthy habits is to practice what you preach and lead by example.
Here are a few parental pearls of wisdom to help you pass on the joy and benefits of healthy living.
Never eat in the pantry, at the fridge or in front of the TV. Always sit down with a plate, even if you’re just having a snack. Sitting down and taking the time to eat helps you connect with the food you’re eating. Making yourself a plate will help you think about what and how much you’re going to eat, instead of mindlessly eating without even realizing how much you’ve had.
Build your plate around healthy choices. Make sure 50 percent of everyone’s plate consists of vegetables and then add on proteins and starchy vegetables or grains
Discuss the health benefits of food and avoid conversations about food making people fat. Focusing on the positive aspects of food and how the vitamins and proteins help our brains function, give us energy and make us strong and healthy can help make children excited about eating healthy foods.
Exercise because it’s fun and makes you feel good, not because you need to lose weight According to the National Institutes for Health, children whose parents were both active were 5.8 times as likely to be active themselves.
While you can’t keep your children from getting angry, overwhelmed, or sad, you can certainly model tools that they could use to help make them feel better. When we yell, our children learn to scream; instead, always speak respectfully and take a minute to calm down, no matter how angry you are. Teach your children that even though it feels like we don’t have a choice about the way we feel, we always have a choice about the way we choose to act.
Dr. Ernest Levister