There are plenty of healthy habits that support children’s development, so we encourage you to check out Part I as well, available here. As in this part, you’ll find five habits that are worth introducing into the life of your family. Happy reading!
“Everything in moderation” – you’ve definitely heard this saying, which really contains a lot of truth! Why is it so important to give children proper examples in the area of eating? Because it has a direct effect on their health! Obesity and dental plaque are conditions that affect more and more primary-school students. Processed foods, diets with too much sugar, drinking sweetened drinks, skipping breakfast: these are the things to avoid.
What’s important in building eating-related habits?
- don’t skip breakfast – this is a good place to sneak raw vegetables, fruit and wholegrain bread into your child’s diet, or to prepare a sweet meal that will satisfy their desire for carbohydrates (omelets, crepes, pancakes, oatmeal, smoothies, porridge – there are lots of ideas for this kind of breakfast); skipping the first meal of the day can slow down the metabolism, increase your child’s appetite during the rest of the day and encourage them to look for snacks that are high-calorie and not necessarily healthy, to get a quick shot of energy;
- drink water, unsweetened juice and smoothies instead of sweet drinks and nectars that contain all kinds of sugar. There’s no doubt that the healthiest thing to drink is plain old water, but it’s not easy to get children used to drinking it once they get to know the taste of other, sugar-packed drinks, so here you have to make a bit of effort and offer your child e.g. 100% natural juices, or water with various flavor additives like fruit or herbs;
- don’t reward your kids with sweets – this habit can lead to eating disorders; associating sweets with reward can be harmful for young people and negatively affect their relationship with food;
- prepare meals together – cooking and baking together is a great way to teach new responsibilities and participating in family life, but also an opportunity to discover new ingredients – awakening interest in new foods by using the various senses can work better than just using words to encourage them to eat vegetables they don’t like, so let your children smell, look at, feel and try foods;
- show the value of dishes: explain to your child how a particular vegetable or fruit affects their body, which will make it easier to convince them to try it;
- offer fruits and vegetables as snacks – a plate full of colorful produce is something that even the pickiest eater will appreciate.
źródło zdjęcia: Evgeny Atamanenko (Shutterstock)
Meals that are prepared and eaten together, weekly film evenings, putting together puzzles, playing board games, doing simple science experiments, learning to cook and bake, talking about how the day went – this kind of family interaction will definitely help strengthen ties with your child. Quality time is a way to pull your child away from the virtual world and their mobile devices.
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Activity outside the home
Of course, during the pandemic all activities outside the home are harder or even impossible, but in normal times it’s worth showing your children around your neighborhood every once in a while, getting to know the charms of your city and region and taking advantage of family-friendly places. Sightseeing and leisure don’t just have an educational and relaxation value; first and foremost they show your child that there’s fun to be had not only online or using devices like a phone, computer or television. Just be sure to provide your child with this kind of experience and happy time that they’ll be able to get the most out of.
And what kinds of places can you visit together? Leisure centers, amusement parks, cinemas, museums, local tourist attractions, zoos, city parks, botanical gardens, plant conservatories, national parks and nature preserves, castles, open-air museums, water parks – you’re sure to find something interesting!
źródło zdjęcia: gorillaimages (Shutterstock)
Time for friends
Building connections and maintaining relationships are things that have to be taught, so it’s worth starting young. Spending time with friends and acquaintances is important for both children and teens, allowing them to learn communication, maintaining relationships, problem-solving, cooperation.
Many friendships are made already at the start of primary school. Though many of them don’t stand the test of time, it’s worth encouraging your child to make new friends that will have a positive effect on their development and self-esteem, and which will sharpen their social skills.
This may be the most important habit that should become the norm in your family: teaching your child that you’re their ally, that you’ll support them, that they’re somebody important and loved. For a child, the awareness that they can count on their parents, and turn to them when they have problems or doubts, is priceless.
Support, love and attention from parents in their youngest years can affect a child for the rest of their life, so praise them and make sure they’re aware of their own value.
main photo: Evgeny Atamanenko (Shutterstock)