The one biggest thing you must learn when it comes to properly raising any child is to lead by example.
For example, if you tell your child not to smoke and that it is bad for you, but you do it, they are going to be more inclined to try it out for themselves since if it was so harmful you wouldn’t do it either. Do as I say, not as I do doesn’t really work. The same thing goes for telling them that fast food is unhealthy for them, but then letting them eat there once or twice a week. Are you really showing them how much you care by letting them put all of that fat and processed foods into their systems. Does feeding your children this stuff say you care about their health?
America is one of the most obese nations in the world. We love our fast food and we love to be busy. We are too busy to workout and we are too busy to cook our own healthy meals at home. We can change though, but only if we want to. We can slow down and we can eat better and we can even find time for fitness. There are plenty of people out there that make time to take care of their bodies, why can’t everyone? The best way to start the change is to teach our children how to be healthier and by showing them also. You must practice what you preach!
The first step to proper fitness is to teach children why being fit is important. Show them info on how obesity raises the rate of mortality and causes a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and diabetes. Show them the proper way to workout, don’t just tell them. Set up workouts with them, get a Wii and Wii Fit Plus to make exercise fun for them. If you work out 30 minutes a day 5 days a week with them this knowledge will stay with them for a lifetime, and you’ll get fit right beside them! Physical education in school is lacking and children don’t really learn WHY they need this education.
Then next logical step in optimal health is nutrition. You can not feed your children McDonald’s and Little Debbie snacks daily and expect them to be healthy and to be wise enough to make healthy food choices. Teach them that snacks can be sweet and healthy too by snacking on fruits and vegetables. Take time to go over the food pyramid with them so they learn what is really good for them to eat. I highly recommend they watch both ‘Fast Food Nation’ and ‘Super Size Me’. Both wonderful educational tools that teach the negative effects of eating fast food. Also make sure to show them how to eat right by eating right yourself. Cook healthy meals together and they will get excited about this new adventure in health!
If you teach your children well, and you follow your own advice, both you and your children will live much longer and healthier lives!
Schlenker, E. and Long, S. (2007). Williams’ Essentials of Nutrition & Diet Therapy. Mosby Elsevier.