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How can I teach my child to eat healthy and exercise?

Brooke Randolph
Marriage & Family Therapy
Healthy habits need to be modeled to your child. You can also start talking about such things from day one, talking your kids through your choices at the supermarket, preparing meals, and choosing to be active. Such discussions can easily become an easy part of your daily dialogue. At first, you simply need to narrate the healthy choices that you make and your reasoning behind those choices. As your children start exploring the world more, you can point out to them how good they feel after exercising or sleeping for an extended period of time. If you make exercise a part of the daily routine, a conversation about exercising will never be required. Kids can learn about making healthy choices as they help decide what they will eat in their lunches at school. As children reach adolescence and begin struggling with identity and self-esteem, it's the perfect time to distinguish health from weight. If weight is a concern, work with them to make healthier dietary choices and increase physical exertion, but remember to keep the focus on health more than appearance. Adolescence is also a great time to start sharing health-related research that you have read.

It becomes more difficult when your household has not had the healthiest habits and you are concerned about your child's weight and health. Talking about the reasons why you have decided to change your habits can inspire kids to follow in your footsteps. In tough situations, food choices, like sending snack money to school, can be considered a privilege just like anything else. Children are not allowed to play with others if they cannot do so kindly. If children cannot make healthy choices, perhaps they do not need the privilege of making food choices on their own just yet.

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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.