Guest Blogger: Anica Oaks
Almost all parents want to create a home for their children that promotes health and wellness. We want to see our kids thrive at whatever they try to do in their lives, to see them succeed and fulfill their wildest dreams. So much of our future is determined by the kind of lifestyle we grow up in. Enabling your children to live healthy is one of the greatest gifts you can give not only your children, but yourself as well. Health means different things to different families. The four points below are building blocks towards creating that culture of health for any kind of family.
Eat Dinner Together
It’s one of the most challenging things for any family, and yet it is one of the most important as well. Schedules almost never easily align in a busy family, making it tremendously difficult to get everyone to sit down at the same time. But the reward for organizing this with regularity is that children will feel supported to make healthy eating choices, as well as have healthy social skills with their parents.
Try to make it as routine as you possibly can that the family will meet back up around the dinner table to go over the day and share a healthy meal together. Evaluate what you have time to prepare ahead of the time or make a dinner calendar to help with shopping.
Learn the Skills to Exercise Safely
It’s true that not everyone is born an athlete. But exercise is essential to our health and wellbeing as children and adults. So if we are to exercise well into our life and maintain that health, it’s important to equip our kids with skills to exercise safely. Many kids will develop a strong interest in one or more sports at an early age. Encourage their natural intuition about what they enjoy playing with while exercising, whether it be a group or solo sport.
On top of the list of the most important exercise opportunities a parent can offer their child from an early age should be swimming lessons. Water safety and ability lends itself to enjoying a swimming pool with friends, enjoying other water sports, or swimming competitively. Tragically, accidental drowning is still one of the highest causes of death among youth in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Promote their health and safety by making swimming lessons from an early age a priority.
Go out and Explore
Go as far or stay as close to home as you need, but make sure to get outside with your kids. Long hikes, camping, and visiting nature preserves should be going on your calendar whenever you’re planning family outings. Not only are they fun mini-vacations, they’ll help develop your child’s wonder and respect of the earth they live on.
Outdoor preschools or other nature immersion camps can be another fantastic way to foster your child’s appreciation for the outdoors. By learning to enjoy nature, they will open themselves up to so many healthy possibilities for exercise outdoors. They’ll also better grasp the balance that exists in nature that promotes sustained health for all.
Show Your Kids Your Healthy Habits
You children watch and imitate you as they grow up. Showing your children how you go through your own life with habits like healthy eating and exercise will make it part of what they consider normal. It’s something they’ll learn to do with you as they grow as you spend quality time together.
Model excellent health for your children by being mindful of your health and the health of the community around you. Planting the seed of health is one of the most important things to a healthy life; you’ll teach your children to find happiness and appreciation for their health.
Should your child have been born healthy, or had health concerns, every parent has felt the fear of injury or disease to their child. Health is nothing to take for granted, and we are not all born as lucky as others. But as a collective culture we can strive to promote the best health for those in our family, and in doing so, the world around us.