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Healthy Kids: Teaching Good Habits and Decision-Making Skills
For many parents, one of the most difficult things about raising a child is figuring out how to keep them safe and healthy even when they’re not at home. Teaching a child good decision-making skills is just as much for the parents as it is for the little ones, as it can help to provide some peace of mind about their ability to care for themselves when Mom and Dad aren’t there to do things for them. It’s not always easy to know where to begin, however, especially if your kids are teenagers; old habits are often hard to break. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to ease the transition to a healthier lifestyle.
It’s important to think about not just giving your child the tools for a healthy body and mind, but also the ability to stay safe when they’re away from home. Teen drivers, in particular, need a lot of guidance from their parents as they set off into the world and may benefit from professional driving lessons to learn how to navigate the roads. It’s also important to think about those difficult conversations, such as avoiding drugs and alcohol, as these lessons can stick with kids well into adulthood. Here are a few things you should think about when it comes to teaching your child how to make healthy decisions at any age.
Road Rules and Coverage
Teaching your kids about the potential dangers of the road can be stressful, but it’s crucial to help them take driving seriously. Not only do they need to understand how to operate the vehicle safely and navigate the roads in any condition, but they also have to learn how to prevent distractions and ensure that the car is in good shape at all times. When talking to your kids about how to drive safely, keep in mind that having other teens in the car can be a huge distraction but an adult passenger could be a huge safety asset. School your teen on your state’s specific auto insurance laws, and prepare financially to pay an additional annual premium if you are covering your child on your policy.
Stock Up on Healthy Snacks
Most kids come home from school and are ready for a hearty snack, and if there’s junk food in the house, nine times out of 10 that’s what they’ll go for. So, it’s important to keep some healthy options in the fridge so they can get used to making those decisions for themselves, so stock up on granola, string cheese, fruit, veggies, and health-conscious dips like hummus. When there are plenty of good foods to choose from, your child will be more likely to pick healthier items when they’re away from home as well. You can also stock up on healthy ingredients and handy kitchen appliances like sandwich presses to encourage your kids to develop their own snacks — with your supervision, of course!
Staying active isn’t always easy for kids with a busy schedule; school, extracurricular activities, and social commitments always tend to take priority. As such, it’s important to make sure you help your child get active several times per week, however, so they can remain fit and maintain a healthy weight. If you can incorporate a little fun into the activity, all the better; families who participate in things together have a much better chance of staying healthy, so get outside and play a sport, go for a hike, or run around with the dog.
Of course, staying active can be tricky due to the pandemic. So, with that in mind, look for online videos and exercise guides that can help you develop an indoor exercise routine. However, make sure you have an internet connection that delivers the speed and reliability you need; there’s nothing worse than having your connection drop in the middle of a workout!
Young people who have a good support system in their homes are much more likely to say “no” when confronted with the opportunity to do drugs or experiment with alcohol, so talk to them about staying strong in the face of peer pressure. Let them know the rules about indulging in substances and the consequences of those decisions; for instance, many high schools have a zero-tolerance policy, especially for members of sports teams. Make sure your child understands what their decisions could cost them in the long term.
Teaching good habits isn’t always easy, but with some careful thought, you can help your child learn the best ways to keep their minds and bodies healthy for years to come, well into their adulthood. Not only will this benefit them, but it will also give you peace of mind as well.