Healthy habits make a difference in parenting

Parents are the most important influences in a child’s life to promote healthy habits.

Parenting is one of the most rewarding and difficult jobs we experience. Each child has different temperaments throwing another spin in the parenting job. Most parents strive to have their children grow up to be healthy, happy and productive citizens.

To reach these parenting goals, it is beneficial for children to have healthy role models as parents or caregivers. Children witnessing healthy behaviors and attitude, living in an environment conducive to offer lower stress, proper nutrition and having the opportunity to be physically active will help health become the norm. Parents and caregivers choosing a healthy lifestyle increase the likelihood of their children adopting these skills as well.

Children living in households offering a nutritionally sound diet, physically active, as well as having positive outlets for dealing with stress are more likely to:

  • Have a healthy weight for height
  • Mental well-being
  • Ability to learn and concentrate
  • Strong bones and muscles
  • Good energy level
  • Ability to fight off sickness and disease
  • Faster wound healing
  • Easier recovery from illness or injury
  • Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers, and bone disease in the future

Here are some ideas to be a positive role model for the children in your life:

  • Do not label food as “good” or “bad”
  • Eat a variety of nutritionally packed foods
  • Eat breakfast
  • Make physical activity fun and family inclusive
  • Please don’t make food or exercise punishment
  • Find positive ways of dealing with stress
  • Keep communication lines open
  • Try not to take things personally when children lash out

Parents and caregivers do not have to be perfect to be positive role models. Small steps in positive directions go a long way to achieve healthy environments. Michigan State University Extension offers programs to help parents and caregivers to move toward a healthy lifestyle.

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