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5 Ways I Teach My Kids Healthy Habits In An Unhealthy World

26/04/2016 2:54 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Let's face it, the world today isn't exactly what you could call healthy. Thanks to technology, people are moving a lot less. Almost everything, from purchasing groceries to catching up with friends needs no more than a few clicks or swipes. On top of that, people's dietary choices have reached an all new level of unhealthy, with packaged junk from the supermarket dominating pantry shelves.

As a mother, these trends worry me. I don't want my children to fall victim to modern-day epidemics like obesity, heart problems and diabetes. That's the reason I try my best to shield them from the dangers of the present day while inculcating in them the healthy habits I enjoyed as a child. Here are five ways I successfully manage to raise healthy kids in an unhealthy world.

1. Keeping tabs on their screen time

Technology has have made our lives simpler, but it has also made us extremely lazy, unproductive and inattentive. If I let my kids have their way, they'd spend all day glued to the television or their gaming console. Result? Weak eyesight, sleep deprivation, lack of physical activity and poor academic performance. I ensure that my kids are allowed only limited hours of screen time, during specific hours of the day and that they spend the rest of their day productively doing other important things.

Involving my kids in the entire process, from picking out foods to preparing them, makes them look forward to mealtimes rather than dreading them.

2. Maintaining open communication

I believe that it is extremely important for all parents to maintain open communication with their kids. This means that along with lecturing the kids about what's right and wrong, we parents must also be open to understanding our kids' perspective. We must leave room for discussion and negotiation as this makes our kids trust that their needs matter to us. It makes them less resistant to any habit changes that we suggest to them. Maintaining open communication can also make us privy to any signs of emotional stress or behavioural changes in our kids.

3. Encouraging healthy food choices

This one is the hardest, but also the most important! If given a choice between healthy and tasty foods, my kids, like any other, would obviously opt for the latter option. I, therefore, try to prevent that from happening by trying to provide my kids with a great blend of wholesome nutrition and flavour. I make it a point to take them along for grocery shopping each time and let them pick the fruits and veggies they like. We then get together to experiment with different recipes, adding the toppings and flavours they love to the dishes. Involving my kids in the entire process, from picking out foods to preparing them, makes them look forward to mealtimes rather than dreading them.

Here's a useful tip, try getting children involved in making a healthy breakfast. Children are usually reluctant to eat in the morning, but giving them a choice and letting them help out could help with this problem.

4. Practicing what we preach

A few years ago, when our son was only three years old, he asked my husband if he too, could also smoke the cigarette that my husband was puffing at. That moment was the end of his smoking habit. Since that day, my husband and I try as far as possible to set a good example of healthy living for our kids to learn from. We know that our choices impact our kids in a big way, and we try to live by the values and habits we want our kids to imbibe.

The best way to ensure your kids walk the path of healthy living is by guiding them to make the right choices while also allowing them certain freedoms...

5. Enjoying adventure together

Kids these days don't spend much of their time exploring the outdoors. Their idea of fun and play remains confined to the use of technology. I strongly think that there's a lot that kids can learn from the outdoors--it not only provides a great outlet for physical activity but is also excellent for sparking up a streak of imagination in little kids by helping them connect with nature. Every weekend, we plan fun outdoor adventure activities together, such as camping, trekking, boating, etc.

What according to me is the best way to ensure your kids walk the path of healthy living is by guiding them to make the right choices while also allowing them certain freedoms in choosing the things they like. Striking the right balance is key. Wish you luck with raising healthy kids!

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