It is a challenge to get our children to eat healthy and sometimes exercise. It can be so easy to keep the TV to get a few chores done instead of taking the kids out to play. And don’t get me started on healthy foods. How could I have a daughter who did not like any fruit? I have tried them all. What I have learned is that eating healthy food and regular exercise is not a behavior that may naturally happen to our children. They have to see it as an example. What behaviors do your children and future children see you doing? Instead of telling them over and over, they have to see healthy habits in us. At six, my daughter now thinks it is cool to participate in local running events and understands the benefits of riding her bike for fun. While getting our children to eat healthy foods can be frustrating, we have to remember it is the consistent behavior they see in us as parents. My daughter may not always want the healthier choice, but she does ask is this a sometimes food (which is not the healthiest choice) or an all the time food? I continue to put it on her plate, hide vegetables in other placed so that she gets the nutrients and remind her that her taste buds change and she may need to try it just this time. Don’t force, but consistently try and don’t make any food a big deal. Never say “you can never eat that” or “you have to eat it.”
While at the Pediatrician with my 6 year old daughter yesterday, her nurse informed me of an 8 year old who was in their office the day before with borderline hypertension and obese. I was shocked, but realized quickly that at age 8 a child does not know right from wrong food choices or that exercise is a better activity than playing video games or watching TV. We, as parents, have to be good role models by first learning how to make choices and create healthy habits our self. It is only then that our children will (eventually) want to participate in the same, and not because they are forced but because they want to be like mommy. What an awesome responsibility.