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

Why Your Kids’ Health Is Contingent on Your Good Example

While some adults make significant life changes as they grow as individuals, the behaviors, habits and lifestyle factors that they have in their early years are often learned from their parents. In some cases, these learned factors may carry on with the children throughout the rest of their lives and be passed down to future generations. With this in mind, setting a healthy example for your children is essential for your own well-being as well as for your children and potentially others. These are some of the many areas where you can lead by example.

Nutrition and Eating Habits

As soon as your children begin eating solid foods, they develop a taste preference for the foods that you present to them. For example, if you always present them with macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets and hot dogs, this is what they will become accustomed to eating. On the other hand, if the family eats a balanced meal with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and other healthy options, the children will habitually choose these foods over the years. Likewise, if they see you comforting yourself with unhealthy foods as a coping mechanism, they may likely mimic this behavior.

Oral Hygiene

Brushing and flossing regularly is essential for oral health, and oral health can impact total body well-being as well. By adopting these habits yourself, your children will naturally pick up on this. In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, remember to visit a dental clinic twice per year. Children’s dental clinic visits should be scheduled once they are old enough to sit still in the chair.

An Active Lifestyle

Another aspect of health that may be learned by parents relates to physical activity. When children see their parents sitting on the couch all day, shirking household chores and otherwise being lazy, they learn that this is acceptable. On the other hand, when children see their parents engaged in exercise activities, team sports, household chores and more, they often will mimic this behavior themselves. Regular exercise can have a beneficial impact on many aspects of health throughout life.

You may be aware of unhealthy habits that you have been thinking about changing, but you may have not yet found the motivation to do so. Now that you can see the many ways that your own behaviors can impact your kids for years to come and potentially across several generations, you may be motivated to set a good example by leading a healthier life.

Tim Esterdahl

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