Parents and guardians are the strongest and most important influence on their children. Each day, parents have the opportunity to move their family’s health in the right direction and shape their behaviors in a positive way.
Here are some ways parents and guardians can educate their children and be healthy role models.
- Start with a heart-to-heart. Get everyone on the same page by sitting down with your kids and spouse or partner to share reasons and a game plan to cultivate a healthier lifestyle.
- Lead by example. Eat veggies, fruits, and whole grains with your meals and set an example by being physically active. If your kids see you eating healthy and staying active, they will want to do the same.
- Make physical activity a family affair. When families complete an exercise or physical-activity goal together, they get to enjoy a shared sense of accomplishment.
- Go grocery shopping together. Use weekly trips to the store to teach kids about food, nutrition, and reading labels. Stock your kitchen with healthy foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. If you avoid buying unhealthy food, your kids will not eat it at home.
- Get creative with meals and snacks. Cut food into fun and easy shapes with cookie cutters and encourage your child to invent new snacks. Consider making your own trail mix or other healthy snacks.
- Serve everyone the same foods. Avoid making different dishes or special meals to please children. It is easier to plan meals when everyone eats same foods. If your child says they are hungry, offer them small, healthy snack choices.
- Reward with positive reinforcement. Show love with encouragement, hugs, and kisses. Avoid incentives like sweet treats or money.
- Inspire change. Live a life of positive change. Establish what is important to you and your family and encourage others to keep you accountable. Set the example, move forward, and never look back.
For additional resources and information about being a healthy role model, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Healthy Habits, Healthy Families webpage.
For more information on DHS employee resources, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.