Parenting is hard, confusing, and overwhelming at times. Even if all you want is the best for your kids, your plans don’t always reap the best results. Maybe all you want is for your kids to live a healthier lifestyle. You want them to achieve better health and wellness, but they are unwilling and demotivated to do so. The big question is why?
Parents have this undeniable role in their kid’s life. You are their first teacher, role model, and best friend. Even if you have the best intentions, your actions can contradict your words which give the kids mixed signals. If your goal this year is to help your kids live a healthier lifestyle, make sure you are not making the following mistakes:
You Don’t Give Kids a Choice
As kids grow older, they will develop their tastes and preferences. They might not like sports as much as you do. They might also prefer sweeter food items instead of what you are trying to serve them at mealtime.
The key to motivating kids to lead a healthier life is by allowing them to make a choice. Consider giving them two to three options each time a decision has to be made. This will make them feel like they made the decision themselves, teach them a sense of responsibility, and even help build their confidence and problem-solving kids.
For example, you can make your kids choose between learning a sport or an outdoor adventure activity of their choice. Let’s say they wish to try horseback riding but are afraid they will hurt themselves or their favorite animal during the activity. You can tell them that riding horses don’t necessarily hurt the horses.
Even the use of spurs and spur straps won’t hurt the horse since these tools are used to communicate with the horse. If they are hesitant to choose, list down the pros and cons of both choices in a language they understand. This will help them better understand their choices and even explore their passion.
You Don’t Make Healthy Habits a Family Affair
Are you always telling one of your kids what to eat and to exercise more? Are you using their siblings as an example of how to be healthier and more active? Doing these strategies will only damage your kid’s ego instead of motivating them to adopt healthier habits.
What you can do instead is to make it a point that the whole family is in sync in helping your kids embrace healthier habits. Instead of comparing kids, turn activities into a family affair. Think of fun activities you can do as a family wherein all members will have fun.
If you have a family pet, you can take your pooch out for a walk as a whole family. This will encourage inactive kids to exercise without directly telling them to be more active. As for helping kids eat healthier meals, considering asking for their help in preparing meals and make sure to eat at least one meal each day with the whole family.
You Don’t Set Limits
Some parents are guilty of using gadgets to babysit the children. Even if you are a busy bee, there are other ways you can keep the kids engaged sans the electronics. Setting limits and encouraging other activities will make them want to switch their tablets with offline fun.
The key is to help your kids find their interests and give them the resources they need. For instance, for kids who are into arts and crafts, giving the art materials and everything they might need. This will help keep them preoccupied and busy enough to let you work around the house.
When it comes to their gadgets, make sure to explain to them why you are now limiting their access to screens. Enforce a no gadget area in the house like the dining area and their bedroom at night. Make sure you also follow these rules and show the kids you too can also commit to your own rules.
You Don’t Offer Your Support
Simply telling the kids to exercise more, sleep early, eat healthier food, and limit gadget use won’t work. They need your support now that your goal is to change their unhealthy habits. Be sure to use gentle reminders, use encouraging words, and applaud their efforts.
Stack on support and be there physically and emotionally. Reward them for trying and trying out healthy habits. If they fail or are unable to commit to healthier habits, be supportive and encourage them to try again.
Your goal is to build their confidence and create a positive experience while instilling better habits. Kids don’t need your destructive criticism or sarcastic remarks. Be sure to notice their progress and positively reinforce actions to keep them motivated.
It is never easy to change the habits that kids have already been accustomed to. But there are ways you can help them change their lifestyle for the better. It starts with your willingness and patience to help, along with the right strategies to turn their life for the better.