Parenting isn’t a right so much as it is a privilege, and one of the reasons it’s such a rewarding endeavor is because you are put into the position of being responsible for helping to mold someone else’s life. Have you checked out any of the “Above the Influence” commercials? The statistics still support the fact that a parent (even the parent of a teenager) continues to hold the most weight when it comes to influencing the mind of their child. Therefore, the things that you teach your kids now, have a huge chance of being the very things that they will carry on into their adult lives. So, when it comes to teaching your kids to exercise and eat healthier, the earlier the better.
The benefits of eating wisely
Did you know that more than one-third of adults and over 17% of children are currently considered to be obese in the United States? The reasons for why this is the case varies. Some people do not have the means to eat as healthy as they should. Others use food as a way to deal with mental and emotional distress. But a large majority of individuals were simply not taught the principles that come with maintaining a healthy lifestyle at the dinner table. They also are clueless as to which food is healthy and which one is not. Some even don’t understand that fast food should be consumed in extreme moderation (if at all), rather than being treated as a staple. If children are used to eating home-cooked meals while growing up, there’s a great chance that it will be their preference well into their adult years.
The benefits of dining with the family
This is definitely a takeoff of the first point, but because so many families no longer sit together at the dinner table for breakfast or dinner, it definitely deserves its own paragraph. Did you know that statistics cite that children are far more likely to eat their fruits and vegetables if they are sitting at the table along with their other family members? There are a couple of reasons why this could be the case. One is the power of peer pressure; with other people in their midst, it’s harder for them to say “no”. Another is because they’re often too distracted talking and laughing to pay a lot of attention to what they’re eating. Whatever the case may be, “dinner table time” is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to focus on one another and that’s always what’s most important. The healthy eating thing? Consider that to be the dessert.
The benefits of outside activities over technological dependency
OK, this is not to say that there’s anything wrong with television, cell phones and laptops. However, there are more and more children that are finding themselves developing a reliance on these things as their forms of communication and extra-curricular activities. Mentally, depending on what they’re reading and/or talking about, it can be potentially counterproductive, but physically, it definitely puts them at risk of becoming sedentary. By setting “electronic hour times” for your kids and providing them with other alternatives to choose from, they learn that there is life away from a computer monitor or a hand-held device. By encouraging them to play outside after school or to join athletic clubs and teams, not only does it give them the exercise that their body needs, but it also aids in boosting their self-esteem while learning how to work with others; all of which are vital tools for the workplace.
The long-term benefits of exercise
Aside from the benefits previously mentioned, when it comes to the positive effects of exercise, there are a host of others. Exercise helps to build strong and healthy bones and joints. Exercise aids in providing a more enhanced quality of sleep. Exercise lowers one’s level of anxiety and depression. And guess what else? Research has concluded that the earlier a child starts an exercise regimen, the more likely they will be able to carry it on throughout their teenage years and onto adulthood.
The benefits of education
We all know that knowledge is power and for a child, this starts with reading. Studies support the fact that the earlier a child learns to read, the sooner they are able to learn other skills including handwriting and foreign languages. It also helps them to develop their critical thinking techniques and creative abilities—all of which are the ideal breeding ground for any student. Children that are taught to appreciate gaining information now have a far greater chance of respecting educational settings in high school, college and beyond. And when it comes to their health, it raises the possibility of them doing the proactive research necessary to know how to eat, exercise and live in ways that are best for their overall well-being. In many ways and on numerous levels, that’s the best kind of health insurance there is.