by Amy Collett.
While it can seem like screens and crazy schedules are overtaking every part of your life, it's more important than ever to help kids understand how to make good choices. Where do you start if you already have older kids? It's never too late to get on a healthy track with your entire family. If you're feeling overwhelmed, IDEAS Empowered by Youth® and its Health & Wellness Module offer four easy ways every parent can start teaching their kids about making healthier choices.
1. Show Them the Importance of Education
It's never too early to discuss education and dreams with your kids. Starting when they are young, modeling the importance of good education is one of the best ways you can communicate how significant it is. You can refer to the learning modules offered by IDEAS to help your children thrive and make a difference. You can also stress the importance of education by getting your own college degree if you've been putting it off. Earning a college degree brings many benefits, including providing higher earning potential. Certain degrees also help you develop specific skills. For example, an online degree in IT helps you learn about information technology, cybersecurity, and data analytics. A teaching degree helps develop communication, organization, and problem-solving skills with youth. Best of all, your kids benefit from seeing you achieve your educational dreams.
2. Encourage Participation in Physical Activities
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young kids and teens need at least an hour of moderate or vigorous physical activity every day. Enrolling your small children or teens in a martial arts class not only gets them moving but also teaches them discipline and responsibility.
Also, don't overlook the benefits of organized sports. Participating in team sports like basketball can help kids learn how to work with others. Teens may even be able to join school teams, and developing athletic skills could increase higher educational opportunities down the road.
3. Offer Less Sugar and More Nutrition
According to Children’s Health, sugar affects the body physically and can lead to issues, such as swelling of the liver, over time. You may not want to cut out all sugar from your diet, but helping your kids understand the importance of choosing healthier foods like fruits and vegetables is important for their growth and will help them to feel better overall.
Take small steps at first to lower your family's daily intake of sugar. Getting the kids involved in meal planning, preparation, and shopping can also get them excited about eating better foods.
4. Talk to Them About Their Lives
Take a little time out of your day to talk with each of your kids by asking them open-ended questions. Get to know the things they enjoy and their thoughts on school, home, and life. Use positive language and make eye contact with your child. When kids are young, this helps them to develop language skills as well as connect with parents.
In teens, it can seem more difficult to connect and communicate. Choose a good time to talk to your teen when he or she is not overly tired or busy. Try to listen more than talk. Studies show that parents who make an effort to be more involved in their teen's life help to lower the risk of alcohol and substance abuse in minors.
Although it can be tough to make healthy changes when your family has developed certain habits, your kids will thank you in the long run for all your efforts. Start small and slowly build your way up if this seems like too much at first. As you incorporate healthier activities in life, you'll find your family feeling better and growing closer.