Being a parent; especially to young children, feels like it can be boiled down to one simple phrase – “Don’t do that!”…and of course, it’s yelled over and over, multiple times a day.
And do our kids listen…HELL NO!
Now some know-it-all is going to read this and be that jerk who pipes up with, “Well, maybe if you didn’t yell at your kids, but instead talk to them like an equal, they would listen.” To that person, I say, “Hey pal…shut up. About face and pound sand with that hippy logic. I’m sure you’re having a bang up time with your hipster babies Shilo and Rufus, but why don’t you head back to your craft beer tasting, with your non-prescription glasses and corncob pipe, and leave the normal parents alone.”
Sure, I yell, and it’s a bad habit. But, it’s also kind of my birthright to yell at my kids. That’s right, I said birthright; deal with it. But that right there; habits, is really where the success of getting through to your kids lives.
Just like yelling, we develop all kinds of habits from an early age; some good, but most bad. A lot of my bad habits growing up, and even now as a middle-aged parent, revolved around eating and exercise. As a kid, I spent a great deal of my childhood alone, so I ate whatever I felt like eating, and my daily exercise mainly consisted of getting up off the couch to go get more junk food. And with no one home; there was very little reinforcement of developing good eating habits.
As I continue to struggle with my weight, as I enter the over-the-hill portion of my life, I realize I need to start this habit training with my kids now, to give them the best opportunity to live a healthier life than I have.
I recently started reading a book on habit training, called Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise.
This book has been nothing short of amazing. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it has changed the way I look at doing everything now, like, starting projects around the house, meal prep, and most importantly, working out. I can’t recommend it enough. But, in the meantime, while you wait for your amazon delivery of the awesome book you bought because of your old pal The Papa’s recommendation, wink-wink…seriously, look up, here are some other effective ways to help your kids develop healthier habits at an early age.
Get them interested in regular exercise.
Many adults lead sedentary lifestyles. It’s easily done in the modern world. We drive to work, sit at a desk, drive home, sit on the couch, and so on. But the problem is that this is becoming the case for many kids too. Playing video games or sitting at the computer is fine, but it shouldn’t be the only thing your children do in their spare time; moderation is key. You need to encourage an active lifestyle for them (and yourself). Encourage them to participate in school programs to stay healthy and socialize with other kids. If you’re struggling to get them interested then you might even want to look into custom youth soccer jerseys to buy for them. A personalized shirt or pair of shorts might make the entire thing more exciting for them.
Adopt a nutritious diet as a family.
Kids copy their parents. We all know this. As uncool as they might say you are (especially as they get older), your kids are massively influenced by you. If you want to make sure your children develop healthy eating habits as they get older then you need to lead by example. Make it your mission to adopt a nutritious diet as a family. Your kids aren’t going to want to eat their vegetables if they see their parents eating unhealthy food. And if you’re always reaching for the tub of ice cream in the freezer then they’re going to want to do the same. Prepare meals with your partner for support; that way, you won’t be tempted to order a takeaway if one of you is tired.
The best way to ensure everybody in your house eats healthily is to eat together. Find ways to make healthy eating exciting. You all need plenty of fruits and vegetables for protein and iron, but presentation is everything when it comes to winning over kids. You could get them some bean or vegetable burgers, for example, to make healthy eating a little more fun from time to time. The crucial thing is simply that they have a balanced diet. Sustenance is essential. You and your kids all need plenty of protein, carbohydrates, iron, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals in your meals.
Encourage a healthy sleeping pattern.
You already know that sleep is important for everyone, regardless of their age. But it’s particularly important for young kids who are still developing both physically and mentally. And it’s a healthy habit that you want them to develop for later life too; so many adults are sleep-deprived, and it has a massive impact on their physical and psychological wellbeing. You need to encourage a healthy sleeping pattern if you want to ensure that your children can concentrate at school, maintain strong immune systems, grow quickly (sleep ensures muscle repair), and remain mentally healthy. You could try going to bed earlier to encourage your children to follow suit. As mentioned earlier, kids are hugely influenced by their parents.