A parent’s role extends far beyond simply cooking, cleaning and keeping your kids safe. Parent’s are the lenses in which children view the world. Kids look up to parents as models for how to be functional adults, including how to treat others and importantly how to treat themselves!
It is essential for parents to teach their children how to care for themselves from the inside out. That is why setting a solid example of healthy habits from a young age is one of the most proactive and important lessons you can pass on as a parent.
However sometimes it is a lot easier said than done to lead by example, especially when it comes to fitness as exercise and healthy eating can be the first hobby to be swapped out when schedules get tight.
So what does this leading by example look like? Well we’ve outlined some tips to help parents lead by example!
- Be active with them- It’s easy for parents to tell kids what to do, but research has found that kids are much more receptive to parent’s guidelines if the parent’s are active and engaged with the kids. This doesn’t need to be you running alongside the kids at their little athletics, but simply taking them to the park or sports games, going on a walk around the block with them twice a week, or making an outdoor walk routine family time. Being physically present and supporting them while they perform the activity is vital for kids development as they begin to associate physical activity as a natural element of family time and daily life.
- Encourage Sports- Even if you aren’t a sports person yourself encouraging kids to join a sports team or any fitness based group can positively influence their lives in many ways. Joining a fitness group, whether it be soccer, dance, cricket or group fitness class, will help kids develop the habit of constantly sticking with a workout and fitness routine. As well being part of a group or team can help increase a child’s social abilities, as kids will learn the benefits of sticking with a commitment, as well as how to work as a team!
- Cook healthy meals on a regular basis- One of the most vital habits your kids pick up from you as a parent is your diet. Yes, kids begin modeling after their parent’s at a young age and pick up little habits whether you notice it or not. Therefore as a parent it is important to not only cook healthy meals and have wholesome snacks available, but eating them with the kids. Having a clean diet yourself is one of the strongest ways to influence your kids to develop healthy eating habits as they get older. Together with your kids strive to eat sensible amounts throughout the day and having at least one healthy meal all together. As well, introducing healthy foods such as brown rice, or veggies into their lunch boxes or at dinner at a young age will help them develop a wholesome palette as they age, so they will incorporate healthy foods on their own as they get older.
- Keep them hydrated- Only drinking water or healthy beverages as a family at the dinner table or around the house will help your kids associate hydration with water rather than soft or sugary drinks. If you tell your kids to drink water when thirsty but you drink soft drink you run the risk of having your kids associate drinking water as a chore rather than a necessity. Solidify in their minds that hydration is directly associated with water by drinking healthy beverages yourself!
- Self Care/ Mental Health- As a parent your influence extends far beyond simply the physical, but also the mental. Parent’s who engage in negative self talk or lack self esteem really influence the child’s self image, as they are a product of you! It’s easy for these negative habits to be passed on to your kids, which will carry with them into their teens or adulthood. Parents should not only be aware of their children’s mindset but also their own, and strive to be a source of positivity and confidence for their children.
As a parent we are the first point of contact for our children and the outside world, therefore we must help instill not just mentally and physically healthy habits to set our children up for success in the future, as a proper health and fitness regime is the foundation of a healthy and happy life!
Your kids are looking up to you, don’t let them down and set them up for success!