Parents! If you haven’t figured it out already, your kids will do what you do. We are not only their models for how adults should behave but also the guiding force that puts them on the path toward independence. It is up to us to both model and encourage behaviors that will help our children be healthy, safe, and well-balanced throughout their lifetime.

Starting today 

Model good behaviors where your own health is concerned. This should start with your diet. This doesn’t mean you can’t indulge from time to time, but your kids need to know that chips and cheese dip is not a substitute for lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. You can change your dietary habits starting today by preparing a healthy dinner and letting the kids help out in the kitchen.

The doctor dilemma

Many children are fearful of the doctor or dentist. Unfortunately, this anxiety often comes from a lack of exposure to these important healthcare professionals. But kids need a physical once per year and a dental checkup and cleaning twice annually. 

Specific to their oral health, their cleaning appointment is the perfect opportunity for their dentist to note any potential issues, such as cavities or crowding, and to rectify these before they become a major problem down the road. If you don’t currently have a dentist, look for one who can see your entire family. is an easy-to-use online tool that can help you find a dentist in your area. Your child’s annual well visit with their pediatrician likewise exists to stop potential health or development issues before adulthood.

Fit and fabulous

Physical activity is also important for your child. According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 40 or so years. In most cases, exercise along with a healthy diet can keep your children’s weight where it belongs. You don’t have to force your children into a regimented exercise routine, however, and there are plenty of opportunities for fun fitness right in your own backyard. Local parks, lakes, and golf courses also offer recreational spaces where you and your children can burn calories, build muscles, and make memories.

The terrifying teen years

If your kids have already hit double digits, it’s not too late to model and instill habits in them that will keep them safe and healthy throughout high school and beyond. If you have a teen driver, take some time to hop in the car with them, even after they’ve been issued a license. Teens are more likely to drive safely with an adult passenger by their side. In addition to hitching a ride, discuss with your teen how to navigate during bad weather and to avoid getting behind the will when they are tired, stressed out, and especially if they have been drinking. Lastly, it’s critical your teen is covered under your insurance. It’s important to be aware of the insurance laws specific to your state; while most states require by law that everyone carry some form of auto insurance, there are other important variations.

Ax the illegal

Speaking of drinking, some surveys have found that nearly eight out of 10 teens in the US had used alcohol in the last 12 months —  about half of that group having consumed at least 12 alcoholic beverages during this time. Just as concerning, the same study suggests that an even higher portion of teens have been exposed to illegal drugs. While you can’t protect your teenager from coming into contact with opportunities, maintain an open line of communication with them, and don’t be judgmental if they want to talk about drugs or alcohol. If you are unsure how to talk to your teen about drug use, these tips from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids can help.

Our children are the role models of tomorrow. What we teach them now will be what they teach their children. Make the most of their youth by being a positive influence from the time they are a hip-clutching toddler until they’ve grown their teen wings and are ready to fly.

Post Credit : Sherwin

Cover Photo : Pixbay