Believe it or not, I’ve been a Mom for 33 years. My kids are grown, and now I’m a Granny, too! I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about growing happy, healthy kids along the way.
We were able to spend some time at the Central Arlington YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day earlier this month, and had fun talking with parents and kids about ways they can live better, healthier lives.
It’s not hard, you know. Here are just a few of the tips we share when talking with families about healthy living. Do you have a tip of your own? Add it to the comments.
Promote a healthy diet
This one benefits the entire family – but can also feel like it requires the most effort. Try making small changes at first. Add fruits and veggies to lunches and dinner meals. Avoid buying junk during your next grocery run. Steer clear of sugary juices and drink more water instead.
Your kids may kick and scream at first, but remember – these changes set them up for a much healthier lifestyle for the journey ahead.
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Encourage physical activity and fitness
We’re surrounded by gadgets and gizmos these days… and I’m just as guilty. But what if we stopped staring into screens – and started chasing adventures in the big world around us?
Find an activity you can do as a family. When our kids were younger, we would ride bicycles together. It was energizing, refreshing and fun. Get them outside and on the move. (And remember, they’re watching you – so when you place importance on fitness, they will, too.)
Listen and Engage
There’s nothing better than dinnertime conversation or bedtime chat. A healthy kid is one who feels heard and encouraged.
Times are hectic, but it’s important we carve out those moments to hear what’s on our kid’s heart. Mental health and self-esteem are vital signs, too.
Gross, but true: We’re surrounded by icky germs, just ready to hop and bop onto the things we touch and interact with every day.
Your best line of defense is to wash your hands before handling food and after touching dirty or commonly used items and surfaces. The Center for Disease Control says frequent handwashing can radically reduce the number of diarrhea and respiratory diseases – and may do the same for eye and skin infections, too.
Develop good dental care
A recent survey found that 1/4 of Americans are dishonest with their dentist about flossing and routine care of their teeth.
It’s important to teach kids how important oral health is – and the risks associated with not taking care of the teeth, gums and mouth. Brush twice daily, floss and avoid sugary, acidic snacks and foods before bedtime.
Prioritize car seat safety
For those of you with little ones, you know how difficult it is to strap in and secure those car and booster seats. All the latches, straps and buttons…
The Traffic Safety Administration found 46% of child safety seats are improperly installed, including 61% of front-facing car seats that were being misused. If you haven’t already, drop by one of the many local car seat safety check events. Your child’s life literally depends on this one!
Tips for Teaching Kids Healthy Habits
Yes, making healthy and safe choices can take some time and effort (and coming from a Mom who’s been the chef, coach, chauffeur and everything in between, it’s hard to squeeze more into the mix.)
But good choices today lead to a life-long habit – and your kids will thank you so much more for a long, fulfilling life