Raising Healthy Children Starts
with a Good Example

You have a lot of jobs as a parent. You’re the head chef, the chauffeur, the housekeeper, and the bank manager, but your most important job as a parent is setting a good example for your children. By living a healthy lifestyle and making good choices, you teach children the habits that keep them healthy throughout their lives.

The DeputieTribe knows what an overwhelming challenge parenting can be. To help with your journey, here are some ways you can be a good role model for your children.

Reach for Nutritious Foods

Children do as you do, not as you say, so if you reach for junk food after a long day, your kids will too. Instead of bringing unhealthy food into the home, stock your pantry with healthy cooking staples and nutritious snacks. By finding ways to make cooking easy, like meal planning and keeping frozen vegetables on hand, your family can eat well no matter how busy you are.

Say No to Soda

Water is the best way for children and adults to stay hydrated. Soda and juice, including fruit juice, are high in sugar. This contributes to childhood obesity and dental problems, both of which follow kids into adulthood. Fill kids’ cups — and your own — with water instead. When you do serve juice, choose 100 percent fruit juice and dilute it with water.

Set An Example

Again, kids learn by observation, so leading by example is paramount to raising healthy, well-adjusted children. Always be a role model, whether it’s through activity, healthy eating or making education a priority. In fact, when parents go back to school, it sends a clear message about the importance of education. If you’ve considered a return to school, know there are plenty of online opportunities in accredited programs with flexible schedules for working parents. For example, a business degree could be the hot ticket to helping your small business grow, ultimately exhibiting to your kids how you were able to pave the way for your future. 

Manage Your Stress

Parenting can be stressful, but if you can’t regulate your emotions in a healthy manner, your kids will struggle with emotional regulation too. This makes life more difficult for everyone, so it’s important to stay calm and interact with children in a positive manner. Avoid self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, or nicotine, and instead use other strategies to manage emotions.

Make Exercise Part of Your Life

Children need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. That sounds like a lot, but it’s easy to accomplish when you make exercise fun! Provide active outdoor toys, enroll kids in sports, and make exercise part of your family routine. Going on daily walks and bike rides, playing active games, and exploring new places as a family ensures everyone gets the exercise they need to stay healthy and strong. 

Limit Screen Time

Too much screen time can lead to behavior problems, disturb children’s sleep, and trigger a loss of interest in other activities. While guiding children to high-quality content and using digital media together mitigates the harmful impacts of screen time, the BBC explains that the best approach parents can take is setting boundaries around appropriate device usage and creating 

Don’t Smoke

The Cut notes research indicates kids of smokers are more likely to become smokers themselves. Secondhand smoke also increases children’s risk of asthma, chronic respiratory problems, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If you smoke, take steps to quit. In the meantime, don’t smoke around your children, in your home, or in your vehicle.

Children are surrounded by unhealthy choices when they leave the home, from high-calorie snack foods to dangerous drugs and alcohol. By teaching your children healthy habits at home, you give them the tools to make good decisions even when their peers choose differently. However, it’s not enough to tell your kids how to live — only by setting a good example yourself can you raise children who make healthy choices for life.

Connect with the DeputieTribe for more tips, ideas and information that will help you with your parenting journey!

Jenna Sherman, a mom of three (two girls and a boy) created parent-leaders.com as an avenue for parents who want to make sure their children grow up to be strong, independent, successful adults. By providing a collection of valuable, up-to-date, authoritative resources, she hopes to help other parents acquire the skills they need to raise future leaders.