Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How to Help Your Child to Have a Positive Attitude About Taking Care of Their Health

Starting healthy habits at a young age leads to lifelong benefits, but the difficulty of getting your children to understand the importance of these skills often proves daunting. Their cooperation may be hard to win since these habits usually look like chores to them, instead. Using a variety of techniques helps them learn how great health connects with feeling good, too.

Keep Health Topics Simple

The challenge of teaching children any important life skill links directly to how complex the explanation may be, such as the relationship between oral hygiene and heart disease. This requires an understanding that their cognitive development lacks. Focusing on the fact that having strong teeth makes eating their favorite foods easier makes the need for good oral hygiene easier to understand. This empowers them to think of you as a mentor rather than a boss, which makes your job as a parent and life coach much easier.

Encourage Them with Rewards

When you’re focused on teaching children healthy habits, think of their preferred choices as incentives instead of limitations. By showing them how to earn their way through a routine, their natural inclination to avoid it lessens. If you’re concerned that using food with a reward system may develop an unhealthy relationship with eating, consider several other options to instill the same health-focused patterns. The importance of timing and follow-through make routines and rewards work together seamlessly.

Be Their Best Example

When parents lead by example, these healthy habits look like everyday practices instead of tasks that interrupt the normal course of the day. While children who learn from a young age may grow into these habits easier than older kids, it’s never too late to start living a healthier life together as a family. Schedule wellness practices so that you and your children work together to complete them. Fresh meals prepared by the family or neighborhood walks taken together make it fun for children and give parents a chance to let them take the lead safely.

Find Family-Friendly Providers

Visits to a doctor or dentist may be challenging for young children when they include important procedures like physical examinations or general dentistry cleanings. When looking for a child-friendly practice, consider that works best for your needs and call ahead to discuss any concerns. Making sure your children have competent professionals ready to understand their needs shows them how to advocate for their best interests when speaking to providers and office staff.

Teaching your children how easy it is to build healthy habits into their natural routines creates a way of living that rewards them daily. When they’re able to see how health leads to happiness, their readiness to embrace these lifestyle lessons means fun instead of frustration for you and for them.

Tim Esterdahl

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