As adults we are encouraged to lead healthy lifestyles as it will improve our physical and mental wellbeing, not to mention provide us with more energy, a better immune system and an overall higher quality of life. While healthy habits can be difficult to adopt as adults, childhood is the ideal time to think about developing healthy habits for a lifelong healthy lifestyle.
Encouraging children to adopt healthy habits doesn’t mean that they will have to go without their favourite treats or worry about their weight. Instead, there are simple and healthy ways of encouraging children to lead healthy and happy lifestyles.
Lead by example
One of the easiest ways for adults to encourage children to lead healthy lifestyles is by leading healthy lifestyles themselves. Children learn by observing. So if they see the adults around them eating healthy and being active, they are more likely to adopt these habits themselves.
Encourage outdoor play
A key to leading a healthy lifestyle is getting enough exercise. While for adults this can be chore, children are often much more naturally active. Playtime is a key way to encourage children to be active outdoors. Additionally, it often leads to them getting plenty of exercise without them even realising it. Sports is another way of encouraging children to be active and can lead to a lifelong enjoyment of exercise. Some children do not naturally favour organised sports which can result in them not wanting to participate in sport activities. However, encouraging them to try different sports during weekends and afterschool is important. In a relaxed, friendly and non-competitive environment it will help them to appreciate the enjoyment of sports for its own sake and not just to win medals, games or awards.
A well-balanced diet
A healthy diet isn’t just one that is full of fruit and vegetables, lean protein and healthy carbs. Instead a well-balanced diet is important. Food that provides the body and mind with all the nutrients it needs. It is important to limit foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats, but these can feature in a well-balanced diet. It’s important teach children that they should eat in moderation. Additionally, learn when they are full up and not eat out of habit or boredom. Learning to cook is another lifelong skill that can be started in childhood and which will lead to a healthier diet throughout their lives. Encouraging children to participate in cooking, even if it is just stirring the ingredients in a bowl, will make the idea of cooking from scratch a lot more natural and part of everyday life.
Mental wellbeing Â
Along with lots of exercise and a healthy diet, mental wellbeing is the third main factor to leading a healthy lifestyle. While children won’t have the stress or anxiety that many adults face, it is important that children feel secure, loved and develop good relationships with their family and school friends in order to lead happy and fulfilled lives. This can be achieved through encouraging children to play together during playtime, through them joining clubs outside of school and spending time together as a family.
With the UK’s obesity rate both in children and adults still a concern for health and educational professionals encouraging children to adopt healthy habits at a young age will not only benefit them now, but also help them to lead healthier lives once they become adults.
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