You leave a legacy of health to your children that extends well beyond the DNA you give them, believe it or not. You also model health-related behaviors and attitudes to others. Here are five suggestions to help your children live a healthier lifestyle.
1. Create awe for the human body.
Many adults are afraid of their bodies and mistrust them. They think the body is weak and that sickness is just around the corner. The belief that if you walk outdoors without a coat, you will get a cold endures. When you look in the mirror and remark to no one in particular, “I’m so big,” your children are paying attention.
Your body is the most amazing mechanical system on the planet. Cuts heal without your intervention. Your immune system serves as your own homeland security system, guarding you from bacterial and viral terrorists. Yes, sickness is a normal part of life. And we offer potent therapies that support your body’s natural healing capacity. However, even with modern medication, it is your body’s capacity to fight diseases like the common cold that provides tangible proof of its resilience.
Make a remark on your child’s amazing physique. “Wow, that wound healed so quickly!” or “You have such powerful, quick legs,” or “Look at what your hands can draw.” Remind your youngster how fortunate they are to have such healthy eyes, kidneys, and hearts.
2. Enlist your child’s help in becoming a student of the human body.
Your children will approach to you with inquiries about the functioning of their bodies. When you don’t know the answers, it may be stressful for both you and your kid. This discomfort may educate youngsters to avoid asking questions about how their bodies function, which may explain in part why parents are hesitant to ask physicians uncomfortable questions.
Keep in mind that no one person has all of the answers. That is why your doctor attends continuing medical education classes. Your kid may bring back memories of the excitement of discovery. You may seek solutions together. When I told my kid that bones produce blood, he inquired, “What about animals with exoskeletons?” “What a fascinating subject,” I replied. Let’s go on the Internet and see what we can find.” Keep a child-appropriate literature on the anatomy on hand, and learn and use anatomically accurate vocabulary. You might have a family contest to see who can come up with the most creative medical word.
3. Instill in your children the importance of listening to their bodies.
Adults are often rewarded for disregarding or suppressing bodily cues. The “hero” who arrives at work with the illness or the mother who ignores her child’s need for food or sleep. Health is maintained when you recognize the signs that your body is out of balance and react appropriately when your body suggests that it need something.
Assist your children in recognizing signs of being chilly, hungry, or weary. “You seem hot, therefore I’m taking off the blanket,” you may even tell a newborn. Allow your kid to practice controlling his exterior surroundings, such as putting on and taking off sweaters. Teach your children that suffering exists to protect them. “Owies aren’t pleasant, but they prevent you from burning yourself over the stove or cutting yourself with a knife.” This is how your body warns you to be cautious.”
4. Set a good example by eating healthily.
Obesity in children is becoming more of an issue. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of various food options with your children. Encourage them to ask themselves, even if there is still food on the plate, “What type of food is my body hungry for right now?” and “Am I full?” Pay attention to whether your child is a grazer or a three-square-a-day eater, and create an eating plan that matches their eating habits. Determine if it is OK to sometimes consume unhealthy foods. When I asked my kid about the nutritional benefits of his doughnut snack, he said, “It’s soul food!”
5. Give more weight to health than sickness.
Some of my favorite childhood memories are of being ill. My mother inadvertently rewarded sickness by lavishing attention on me, bringing countless bowls of ice cream, and playing games with me in an attempt to alleviate my discomfort. Who wants to be sick?
Instead, while your children are well, shower them with attention. While you don’t want to penalize your children for being ill, think about which health benefits should be revoked on sick days.
You have given your children the basis of health when you instill in them a feeling of pride, curiosity, and respect for their body.