One of the key ways that children learn is through the example of their parents. In fact, there is a great deal of research that supports the critical role parents play in forming habits in their children.
So, if you are a parent hoping to help your children learn healthy habits that they can take into adulthood, your position as a parental role model is essential.
As your source for health and fitness information, NordicTrack is here with five ways you can be a healthy role model for your children.
1. Meal Prep Healthy Meals
The foundation of a healthy lifestyle is built on good eating habits. Yet, in a busy family, many meals may be supplemented with processed foods, from sugary cereals to frozen pizza, due to convenience. As processed foods are often high in sugar––as well as carbohydrates that are broken down into glucose, which is a form of sugar––it is easy to overeat these foods, as even small portions can be calorically-dense.
According to some researchers, daily overconsumption of sugar can be similar to drug addiction, as both drugs and sugar can increase a person’s dopamine levels. If children have a predisposition for sugar carved into them due to dietary habits, living healthy as an adult can be a challenge.
As a parent, you can model better dietary habits for your children. Reduce the amount of processed food that makes its way into your home and focus on making meals that feature whole ingredients that have undergone minimal-to-no processing. That way, your children can see different ways they can prepare fresh, whole ingredients.
For meal prep ideas, check out the full range of recipes on your iFit account. With your iFit membership, you’ll have personalized meal plans delivered to your iFit app each day.
2. Be An Example Of Regular Exercise
Since the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t really work on children, if you want to be a healthy role model for your children, it’s a good idea for you to stick to a regular exercise schedule. This schedule doesn’t have to be elaborate. For instance, it can be as simple as doing 20-30 minutes of exercise on your Fusion CST just three times a week.
Check out this HIIT workout on your Fusion CST for your next workout session.
The important thing is that your children can benefit from seeing you stick with exercising even when there are other demands of your time. As exercise helps you maintain your health and fitness goals, your children can learn from your example––watching as you grow into a stronger, healthier, and more confident version of yourself.
If you have a home treadmill, try this iFit treadmill workout and watch your children engage with your new, fit lifestyle.
3. Engage In Active Family Activities
Having a family movie night can be a lot of fun. But to help be a healthy role model to your children, you may want to take a hard look at the kinds of family activities that your family engages in. If the activities are predominantly sedentary, it may be time to revamp family time and get active.
Some active-focused family activities your family may want to try are:
- Playing at a park together
- Go on a family bike ride
- Have family dance-offs
- Sign up for a charity walk or race
4. Create Technology-Free Time
You can hardly look at a parenting forum nowadays without seeing parents asking how they can get their kids away from their screens and to go outside and play. The problem is, many parents are spending just as much time with their technology—be it smartphones, computers, TV, tablets, or more—and children are simply emulating the same behavior.
You can model for your children how to balance technology time with other interests by creating tech-free times, where no one in the family is using technology. Family dinner time is a great time to implement a tech-free zone, allowing the whole family to focus on the meal and each other. Also, setting a technology curfew—when all technology is turned off—can help your children disconnect and unwind with a quieter activity, like reading a book.
5. Encourage Sports And Other Activities
Encouraging your children to join a team sport is an easy way to not only help your children be excited about exercise, but it also can help your children develop good social skills. And while there are the standard sports your children can try—such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc.—if these don’t interest your children, you may want to consider other activities, like:
- Rock climbing
- Mountain biking
Finding a regular sporting activity helps your children be active, learn to work with a team, and develop other interpersonal skills. Along with these things, according to a systematic review of research on the connection between children’s cognitive function and physical activity, children who engage in sports can have their emotional and cognitive function positively impacted.
Now, you don’t have to implement all these things at once. Like with any new habits, it is best to take your time and incorporate new habits one at a time. That way, over time, the whole family can learn how to lead healthier lives, and your children can benefit from your example for years to come.