As a parent, raising your children is something that can bring great joy into your life, but like anything else, it comes with its challenges. Helping your children make healthy choices and get them into the mindset of learning how to take care of themselves can be particularly tricky. Although they might not make the best decisions in every instance, you can help your children lean toward healthier options as much as possible.
Get Them Outdoors
Playing outside is a great way to get exercise, build friendships, and get screen-free time. Children can benefit from being involved in day camp or another type of school-structured playgroup during summer, but it is important to give them free time with friends and the opportunity to use their imaginations. If you’re trying to get them interested in exercise, consider going biking together or taking them swimming, which appeals to many children, regardless of age.
Offer Healthy Meals and Snacks
The lure of junk food can be difficult for kids to resist. If you find eating healthy meals presents a challenge, start limiting how many sugary items you keep in the house. Offer new fruits and vegetables as snacks, making it a goal for your children to adopt new healthy choices. Consider taking them to a farmers’ market so they can see where food comes from. Try to get them involved in cooking so they can learn how to make new dishes, build upon their life skills, and see how much fun it is to try new things. They might even be inspired to pick a new recipe for dinner!
Help Your Children Develop Their Minds
Although computers will always remain a central part of our lives, work with your children to help them think outside the box and develop their minds in other ways. Organize weekly trips to the library so they can find new books and favorite authors. Get them involved in extracurricular activities that meet their interests, such as playing the piano or taking a dance class.
Now might be a good time to discuss their plans for the future, such as college. You could lead by example, too. If you have always wanted to earn a business degree and make the move to accounting or marketing, or a nursing degree in hopes of actively helping others, you can demonstrate to your children your dedication to continuing your education.
Have an Honest Talk About Drugs and Alcohol
Experimentation happens among young people, but there are ways you can curtail it. Let your children know how valued they are, so they don’t feel the need to turn to an addiction for comfort. Partnership to End Addiction explains that it can help to give them a game plan for situations where they will face peer pressure and strategies they can use to avoid drugs and alcohol if they feel it is forced on them.
Helping your children make healthy choices is possible when you get involved in their lives. Let them know they have options, and remind them they can do anything they put their minds to.
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Janice Russell believes the only way to survive parenthood is to find the humor in it. She created Parenting Disasters so that parents would have a go-to resource whenever they needed a laugh, but also to show parents they aren’t alone.