Note: This article contains affiliate links (hyperlinks, widgets, or through images), which means I receive compensation if you purchase a product through them. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. Visit my disclosure page for more information.
As a parent, we want our kids to be healthy and happy. Though they can get nutrients from vitamin supplements, food should still be the primary source of their nutrients and vitamins. When given the choice between some fried chicken or a carrot, the majority of kids would choose fried chicken. Unless it is my son. He can’t stand fried foods.
When asked whether they want to play outside or spend hours on their smartphones, most kids would choose the latter, unfortunately.
How can you make your kids eat healthy foods without forcing them? How can you develop a health-conscious attitude for your kids? Below are some tips to help you in instilling healthy habits in your kids.
Keep Things Positive
Negative reinforcement is not always a good idea. If you force your kids to finish their plate of vegetables, they will end up despising those vegetables. They would associate the food with forced discipline.
Opt for the positive approach when it comes to instilling healthy habits in your children. Instead of forcing them to do something, encourage them and make them understand the importance of such action. Celebrate every small step and don’t forget to shower them with praises when they do something healthy.
Encourage Physical Activity
We live in a society ruled by gadgets and smartphones. Even a lot of one-year-old kids spend hours on their tablet watching cartoons or nursery rhymes.
Limit screen time and replace it with physical activities. Encourage your kids to be physically active with these tips:
- Find a sport that your kid enjoys doing. If he likes to watch basketball on television, go outside with him and play basketball. It’s also a great opportunity to bond.
- Be a role model by being active yourself. When your kid always sees you doing exercise on a rowing machine regularly, he would more likely be encouraged to be active.
- Organize family activities such as bushwalking, camping, and other outdoor games.
Reward them for Good Behavior
Appreciation and reward are always effective when it comes to developing behavioral habits. Don’t be shy about verbal appreciation every time your kid does something good. A simple “great job” or a pat on the back goes a long way in boosting their morale.
Rewarding them for every good behavior is also encouraged. The reward does not need to be fancy or grand. If your kid did well in his sports class, treat him to an ice cream cone. They will be more motivated to do better if they are always encouraged and rewarded.
Kids will be kids. You have to accept this basic truth so that you won’t be disappointed. Though you want your kids to eat nothing but healthy foods and be physically active, there will be a time or two that they will act as kids and would rather eat some potato chips instead of carrot sticks.
Don’t be too hard on yourself or on your kids. Allow them to be kids yet gently encourage them to continue with their healthy practices.
Have Dinner with Children
Eating with your children is very important and should never be missed, no matter how busy your schedule is. Having meals with your children does not only provide an opportunity for you to be nourished but more importantly, the dinner table is a place where you share thoughts and experiences.
It’s also a place to install influence on your kids. When your kids constantly see you putting healthy foods on your table, they will eventually follow the same habit.
Discourage Bad Habits
Kids are still in their formative years. They are like a sponge; they absorb almost everything taught to them. When you see a bad habit, correct him right away and make him understand the negative effect of the said habit. By discouraging bad behaviors at the very beginning, they will get rid of this habit faster and develop better ones.
We have a huge responsibility in molding our kids to become healthy adults. Start right away by following the tips above.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.