5 easy ways to encourage your kids to choose a healthy lifestyle

Getting into a healthy routine will reap many benefits for your children

Teaching your children to eat healthily, be active and avoid sitting around all day is not easy but it is important that children have all the facts and learn from their parents. With fast food readily available and less time to cook from scratch due to busy family life it is easy to fall into an unhealthy way of life.  However there are a few things you can do to encourage your child to take a healthy approach to their lifestyle and together as a family this will benefit you all. 
Family meal times.
If time allows, getting the kids involved in the preparation and cooking of a meal can go a long way in encouraging healthy eating. Teaching your children about good food, nutrients and portion sizes will enable them to understand the importance of choosing and balancing meals correctly to ensure the family eats a variety of foods in their diet each day.  Leave desserts for the weekends and try to avoid using food as a reward for your child’s good behaviour as then kids learn to be motivated by unhealthy food. Lead by example at home and eat what the others are eating, and entice the kiddies to try new food regularly even if they hated the certain food a few weeks ago, as taste buds change all the time. 
Everyone should get active.
Be a good role model and from the time your child is born encourage them to play outside, to exercise and to discover the great outdoors. Walk to school as often as you can, take the dog for a walk and venture out (even in the dreary afternoons) to the park to run of some of the children’s energy. As your children get older let them participate in after school sports as this helps their coordination and their social skills by been a part of a team. Rather than perceiving exercise as a chore the whole family should enjoy keeping active and being healthier because of it. 
Technology free time. 
Technology is brilliant and the kids all love it but tablets, phones and laptops should be used in small doses and not relied upon to entertain children, instead get them to colour, to draw or to write a story using their imagination for a short time. Turn off the Wi-Fi at home some evenings and talk to each other as a family rather than staring blankly at devices for hours on end and learning nothing in the process! 
Teen troubles.
The kids will inevitably grow older and before you know it you are faced with a teenager who wants to stretch boundaries and disobey rules. Influence your teenager about their choices and how drinking alcohol effects the body and mind, how smoking can damage their lungs and drugs are deadly to use at any time. Be open with them and as they grow older encouraging them to keep up their sports and exercise, showing them how to keep their bodies in good health. 
Adopting a healthy living lifestyle isn’t impossible for children it just has to be taught to them so they can go forward and keep themselves in fantastic shape.

Written by Emma, Irish mummy blogger and staff writer at  www.familyfriendlyhq.ie 
Check out her own blog at emmasmadjotters.com

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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