Many parents and caregivers wonder how to get children to live a healthy lifestyle. Following the suggestions listed here will help parents and teachers give children the basic knowledge they need to make good choices about lifestyle matters as adults.
Set a Good Example Yourself
Children learn a lot more from what you do than by what you say, so if you want them to have good health habits, you should examine your own lifestyle choices first. If they see you taking good care of yourself, the chances are higher that they will follow suit themselves.
How to Get Children to Live a Healthy Lifestyle: Tips to Follow
Eat a Balanced Diet
Offer children foods from all four food groups regularly:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Milk and Dairy Products
- Meat and Alternatives
The adults in the household set the tone for how the rest of the family eats. If you eat a lot of junk food, your children will make similar choices when they are given the opportunity to decide what they want to eat.
Drink More Water
Being well hydrated is a key ingredient for staying healthy. Drinking water regularly helps to lubricate the body's joints and keeps kidneys working properly. If you wait until you feel thirsty to take a drink, you are in the early stages of dehydration.
Children should learn to drink water with every meal and in between meals as well. Again, they are more likely to follow this example if they see you doing the same thing.
Milk and juice are also good choices to stay well hydrated through the day. Avoid caffeine-laced beverages, since they cause your body to flush out more liquids. Fruits and vegetables also contain water, and including these items in your diet on a regular basis will help you to stay well hydrated too.
Get Active on a Regular Basis
Include regular exercise as part of your lifestyle to stay healthy. Signing children up for sports is a great way to get them involved but may not be the best choice for all youngsters. If you expand your idea of exercise to include family activities, such as bicycling, hiking, or gardening, it will be easier for the whole family to get active.
Why not make a point of going to the park and playing soccer, football, or catch as a family? You get the benefits of exercise as well as spending time together.
If your children don't see you using tobacco products, they are less likely to start themselves. Talk to your children from the time they are very young about making good choices about whether to smoke. Be sure to discuss how smoking is portrayed in the media and talk about how this habit is sometimes portrayed as a way to look cool. In a situation where you are a smoker, talk to your children about what made you start and why you continue to do so. If you have struggled to quit and found it difficult, as so many people have, then that is important information that deserves to be shared with them as well.
Use Alcohol in Moderation
Part of having a healthy lifestyle is making responsible choices about alcohol use. Tell your children that if they decide they want to drink when they are older, that they should do so in moderation. Educate them about the risks involved in consuming alcohol to excess, including:
- increased risk of being assaulted or sexually assaulted
- risk of alcohol poisoning
- consequences associated with being pulled over for DUI/DWI (Driving Under the Influence/Driving While Intoxicated)
If you are wondering how to get children to live a healthy lifestyle, the answer is for you to set a good example for them to follow. If you take steps to look after your health properly, your children are more likely to follow in your footsteps.