Teaching Your Kids to Make Healthy Choices

Nearly one in five kids between the ages of 6 and 19 are obese. “The percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s,” reports the CDC.  How can you protect your child from obesity? Teach your children to make healthy choices for themselves. Here’s how.

Unhealthy Surroundings

First, we need to look at where these habits come from so that we can steer our kids away from them. Kids are surrounded by a wealth of choices, marketing, and options that may be leading them astray. They include:

Junk Food Commercials
Smartphones and other online services know how to customize ads just for your child, featuring some of the unhealthiest snacks you can imagine. Unfortunately, kid-friendly TV shows are the same way.

 

Too Much Screen Time
Kids are spending so much time on their devices that it’s starting to harm them. Research shows that too much screen time is negatively impacting their mental health, especially their ability to recognize emotions. Currently, the World Health Organization is also recommending studies to investigate the effect of electromagnetic fields generated by screens on the health of children.

 

Sedentary Life
Too much screen time is not just a problem for children’s emotional well-being and health. They have reduced recess periods and fewer sports programs at school, while they’re playing more video games and spending time on social media at home. All of this is pushing kids toward a more sedentary life, increasing their risk of obesity.

 

Stress
Today’s kids are stressed out. Between the struggles of growing up and academic pressure, it’s no wonder that our kids are experiencing anxiety!

Teaching Them Good Habits

With so many things dragging them down, how can we teach kids good habits? These tips will help.

Parent Modeling
Kids learn the most during their pre-adult lives from what they see their parents doing. The best place to begin helping your child live a healthy life is by making good choices for yourself – and the sooner, the better. Start eating right — it’s actually not too difficult to do so on a budget — and introduce them to portion control. You can also teach them to cook on their own (toaster ovens work great for teaching kids how to cook and are safer than conventional kitchen ovens).

Keep It Fun
Kids learn best when they don’t realize they are doing something educational. If you want to teach your kids to eat healthy foods, have them make their own meals choosing from produce, cheese or yogurt, healthy grains, and nut butter. See what they can create. Learn more fun ways to teach them to eat healthy foods at Parenting.com.

Stress Management for Kids

You can help your children practice some of the same stress-management techniques that you use. For example, teach them deep breathing for when they feel anxious or stressed. Learn more ways to teach your child to manage stress in this article from Psychology Today.

 

Get Them Outside
Nature provides kids with fresh air, exercise, and sunshine. Encourage them to explore all the seasons outside. Put up a basketball net, explore nature with a backyard safari, or let them create a garden. Once they learn to love the outdoors, they will never forget it.

 

Create a Stress-Free Environment
Your home should be a place where your children feel safe to relax and be themselves. If they have too many rules and regulations, they will never feel comfortable. Give them areas to be creative and messy and plenty of places to relax. Lock up grown-up belongings so that their entire home is safe.

Today, our children are surrounded by unhealthy choices and unsafe options. If we take the time to model beneficial habits and create a safe, stress-free home, our kids will grow into healthy, calm, and confident adults. 

For those of you who have wondered what is happening to the Lobelville Water Plant, it is definitely undergoing a facelift.  All was made possible by a grant from the US Department of Economic Development Administration for $1.52 million and a USDA grant and low interest loan for the City's matching funds of $380,000.   

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