Healthy choices aren’t always easy to make, and when you’re a child or a teenager, they can be even more elusive simply because of things like peer pressure, feelings of anxiety or depression, or busy schedules. It’s important for parents to help their kids focus on making healthy choices at an early age so it will be easier to maintain as they get older. As a parent, you can assist with everything from diet and exercise decisions to learning how to steer clear of negative influences in school; the key, however, is figuring out the best way to approach these important topics with your child so they can make use of them in their own way.
One great way to talk to your children about their health and how they make decisions is to show them how everything is connected. For instance, their oral health can affect how they feel mentally and physically, from heart health to a higher risk of stroke. Once your children learn how different aspects of their well-being are linked, it may help them make better decisions. Here are on how to teach your children about healthy choices, no matter what their age.
Teach Good Oral Health Habits
Good oral health habits are important at any age, but the more your child understands the importance of keeping their teeth and gums healthy, the better off they’ll be. Gum disease has been linked to everything from heart issues to depression, and unfortunately, as we get older, it can become very easy to neglect oral health. Make sure your children understand the importance of getting a checkup every six months, and look for a dentist near you that meets all your needs.
Safe Driving Tips
It can be very scary for many parents to allow their kids to get behind the wheel of a car, but it’s something that is an important milestone at a certain age, so it’s important to take steps to help make the process as easy and safe as possible. Talk about the best ways to remain focused on the road — especially if your child has a tendency to daydream — and how to remove distractions from the situation (such as phones or even teenage passengers). Learning how to drive safer can take some time, so try to be patient as you help your child go through the process. Also, don’t forget to factor in the cost of full coverage for your new driver. Before you go with a certain company, do your research to compare prices; keep in mind that the cheapest is not always the best: look for the cheapest car insurance possible that also has adequate coverage .
Give Them Better Options
Kids and teens can have a hard time making healthy choices when they are limited, so if you can give them the best options, you’ll be making things as easy as possible for them. This might mean keeping cold water and decaffeinated tea handy, limiting soda and sugary drinks, and keeping easy-to-grab healthy snacks in the pantry and fridge for after school or work. When the entire family is involved in healthy eating, it’s a much more comfortable lifestyle change.
Have the Conversation
Having a talk with your kids about peer pressure and avoiding the temptation of drugs and alcohol can be uncomfortable, but it’s an important step in helping them make good choices. You might be surprised at what your child has heard or seen at school, so it’s a good idea to have this conversation with an open mind and to let your child know that you are there to support them and help them make good decisions every step of the way.
Staying healthy can often feel like a full-time job, and when you add in everything that your kids need as well, it can seem overwhelming and a little daunting. That’s why it’s crucial to keep communication open and to make sure you set your child up for success at home as you support their well-being through the years.