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How can I instill healthy behaviors in my child?

Children learn by watching other people—especially their parents. Set an early example for them by taking the time to eat healthy, exercise and rest well. A common problem is that parents want the best for their kids, but they make different choices for themselves because it is easier. Don’t make separate meals for different members of the family, and encourage eating together. Food choices, eating behavior and habits that we see in adults are directly related to what we were exposed as a child. Parents have the power to shape those patterns by making healthy lifestyle choices for their family and children early.

Parents should agree what type of lifestyle goals they want to instill in their family while prioritizing their own health needs. Raising healthy, happy kids requires a well-planned strategy to which everyone commits. There are several ways to include everyone in healthy activities on a regular basis—take the dog for a walk after dinner, ride your bikes together (with helmets, of course!) or just play catch in the yard. Another avenue to spend time together, while instilling the values of healthy nutrition, is to start a backyard garden. This will not only be fun for everyone, but will ensure easy access to fresh vegetables.

Instilling healthy habits and maintaining them as a lifestyle is actually pretty easy and manageable when done with the proper amount of planning and commitment. A simple first step is cooking at home and eating meals as a family, leading into spending quality time in the evening after the hustle and bustle of the day is over.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.