An Essential Part of Raising Healthy Children
Exercise, sleep, stress control, emotional stability and nutrition are just a few things that are necessary to everyone's health. It can be hard to pick which one needs to be addressed first for our kids and it can be tough to decide which actionable steps should be taken. Everyone wants their children to be healthy, smart and successful, but don't know where to start. Parents spend piles of money on athletics, on tutors and on preventative healthcare and wellness. But they look at some simple opportunities to keep their family healthy as chores, thus avoiding them all together.
Lets face it, there is a reason that we avoid implementing certain self improvement tasks on ourselves or family. It requires us to hold ourselves accountable. We have to actually commit ourselves to fixing a problem instead of throwing money at it. Regarding health, we must make good choices for ourselves and teach these choices to our children. Monkey see, monkey do.
The single most influential thing on a child's health is their parent's health, and not just for genetic reasons. Healthy habits need to be taught early and need to be ingrained in your children. Many people don't know where to start, but there is one very simple answer. Have healthy family meals together.
I know someone has soccer practice tonight and Dad is getting home late due to a meeting, but this is something
that still needs to happen at least 4 days per week. Eating together can be such a valuable tool, that there are very few good excuses for not making this happen. If someone is going to be an hour late, then move dinner and hour later. Supplement with a healthy snack before if needed. Sitting down to a meal is about more than just nutrition. It's about learning to communicate, to work together and to find emotional support through people who care about you. This is why food is so important to culture. So much happens around meals when shared together.
Eating as a family is a bonding moment that gives parents the opportunity to teach children about healthy food choices and about healthy life choices. When a child builds these healthy habits early, it will be way more likely to stay with them for life than in someone that has to learn them as an adult.
Challenge yourself to bring the family together for healthy meals and healthy conversation as many times a week as possible for a month. If it doesn't seem practical, then move on and come back to it at your convenience, but you may find that this old habit from generations past will stick.