Our children learn from example. They learn from the Internet, television, their peers and the magazines they read. Information is available in any area, but are they looking to make good choices from the information they take in? As a child, most do not know what good choices are. As far as that goes, many adults don’t know what good choices are either.
All parents have an obligation to teach their children what is good for them emotionally, physically and spiritually. We can’t assume our children will know what is good for them or what is bad for them. We must be involved in their lives and talk to them, not at them when we share things with them. Don’t expect your child to stay away from drugs, alcohol or cigarettes if you indulge in them. Don’t expect your child not to yell and curse if you expose them to it. Don’t expect your children to have confidence and believe in themselves if you are always negative and don’t believe in yourself.
I have seen many kids that swear and then they get yelled at or hit by their parents who are cursing at them for cursing. If the parent had any sense, they would realize that they themselves are the problem and they created this pattern in their children’s lives. The child is more than likely thinking, “Why am I getting yelled at and hit for the same thing my parents are doing”.
The best things we can give our children is our time, being an understanding parent, knowledge of how to live a healthy life and how to make smart choices. If we help them while they are young to make good decisions, they will be a much stronger person later in life. However, they of course, have their own free will and make their own choices as they age but we can help them get started in the right direction.
Getting our children involved in fitness and eating healthier does not have to be difficult. It’s all about approach. If you try to jam it down their throats, they of course, will be defiant. Start making small changes with your cooking and eating habits and don’t try to make big changes in one night. Gradually get to the point where you are all eating healthier meals on a regular basis. Pick one day a week where someone in the family gets to pick what you have for dinner or lunch from a list of things everyone likes. Every week, let someone else choose. When you do have to eat fast food, make healthier choices like grilled chicken breast, fruit cups, salads and juices instead of fries, burgers, sodas and ice cream.
Make sure you educate your children about food along with all of the different foods in the grocery store as you go around and purchase or don’t purchase them. Explain to them what foods have protein, carbohydrates and fats in them and point them out in the store. If you don’t tell them, how are they going to learn the importance of making healthy food choices?
Set a good example. By all means, do not eat things in front of them that they are not allowed to eat. Never call them fat or stupid or single anyone out. Words can be more damaging than physical abuse. You must present a good example in all areas of your life.
Help your children understand why it’s important to exercise and the many benefits we receive from it. Exercise as a family going for walks, bike rides, swimming, playing sports, doing body resistance exercises and other activities. Getting children involved in outside sports being either organized or just family gatherings, is a great activity as they can have fun and exercise at the same time. If you do get them in organized sports, by all means don’t be like some parents and think its the world series. Let them have fun and have good sportsmanship. Don’t be on the sideline screaming or cursing because of a play or something with the other team. If you do that, you will be teaching your children the wrong disposition to have and also embarrass them.
The statistics of children that sit and watch television or play video games is alarming. They are doing nothing for their individual health and wellness because they are planted in front of a television. As parents, we need to balance our children’s time accordingly and smartly so that they don’t feel they are being punished by not watching television or playing video games as much as they would like to.
Try to make fitness and eating healthier a family thing and a new lifestyle for everyone. Everyone will be happier and healthier building discipline and confidence at the same time. Children that know people and believe in them, are less likely to get into trouble. There are too many children being raised by television, the streets and other means. These kids often times end up statistics in life. They may want to change but many never know how to after seeing so much adversity while growing up and they end up just giving up.