How to Support Your Child's Healthy Habits
By Sara Butler
It can be really frustrating when you work really hard to establish healthy habits in your home, but when you get to Grandma’s or Aunt Marge’s house, it’s a candy free-for-all. The caregivers in your child’s life mean well but if they’re sabotaging healthy habits, then you have to nip that in the bud! Here are a few strategies to help you keep your kids healthy without creating drama.
The Biggest Problem
Food is probably the number one point of contention between you and your child’s caregivers. When you make an effort to provide balanced, healthy meals in your home and give them nutritious snacks, you probably want to flip your lid when your kids tell you that Grandpa let them have ice cream for lunch.
Another issue you may have to contend with is caregivers who insist your child must clean their plate. This old adage promotes eating until unnaturally full and that can lead to a difficulty in maintaining a healthy weight. Your child should be allowed to eat until they’re full, saving leftovers until later.
What You Can Do
There are a few strategies to help you put an end to these unhealthy influences in your child’s life. You can:
- Communicate – You must be firm and clear about your expectations. Don’t assume someone knows your healthy habits at home, so enlighten them. Approach the topic in a gracious way, starting on a positive note and giving examples.
- Provide alternatives – Many people use treats as a gesture of love or as a reward, maybe even as entertainment. To help prevent this, give them ideas for other ways they can spend time together, such as by taking a walk, playing a game, gardening, fishing, or doing something else that doesn’t center on food.
- Be authoritative – You have to approach this from a position of authority. Be confident in your tone and clear about expectations.
- Give them a list – If you feel it would help, provide them a list of foods that you feel are appropriate to give to your child. What may seem like a healthy snack to someone else may not fit the bill for you, so be clear.
- Balance the good with the bad – If you know your child will be with someone who will let them have junk food despite your best efforts, then try to balance it by keeping that stuff out of your home.
You are an advocate for your child’s health and wellness, so sometimes you have to be the gatekeeper in order to keep them thriving!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Arvada, Colo.