A lot goes into raising children. It can be very overwhelming! Sometimes, it’s enough just to get through the day, but if you want your child to experience happiness, success, and good health as an adult, you have to start planting those seeds early.
Here are just a few ways you can support your child’s long-term mental and physical health with things you can do today.
Model Eating and Serve Healthy Food
Being a kid is hard, and the hardships they face now can have a huge impact on their lives in the long run. According to a recent study, childhood bullying can lead to weight problems later in life. Not to mention, habits your child builds now can have a huge impact on the habits they maintain as an adult.
Serving healthy food from a young age, and eating those foods yourself, can help normalize fruit and vegetables.
If your child grows up thinking that’s just what you’re supposed to eat, they will be more likely to continue eating those foods later in life. That can reduce the chances of them experiencing dissatisfaction with their weight, even if they were bullied, and it can boost their chances of living a longer life.
Learn More: Healthy Eating 101
Model and Encourage Regular Exercise
Not only is it important to eat healthy foods, it’s important to encourage your child to engage in regular exercise.
That might mean taking your older child to the gym or a yoga class with you, but modeling active behavior doesn’t mean you have to pay to take classes or buy a gym membership! Staying active with your child from an early age is all it takes.
A few ways to be active in your everyday life include:
- Getting outside, even if it’s cold or rainy
- Limiting screen time for kids and adults
- Getting the kids involved with chores, like raking and vacuuming
- Finding something you like to do together, like going for walks
By making exercise something more than lifting weights at the gym, you can help your child have a better relationship with exercise as an adult.
Model and Encourage Healthy Friendships
The role of friendships in our lives is extremely important. Friends can boost happiness, decrease stress, improve your confidence, provide encouragement, and help you cope with life challenges.
It’s important to encourage your child’s friendships by asking them about their friends, allowing them to invite them over, and fostering ways for your child to make new friends.
It means modeling healthy adult friendships too! Don’t be afraid to take off for an evening out with the girls or invite a few friends over for dinner. When your child sees you make time to nurture your friendships, they will be more likely to take the time to nurture their friendships as an adult too.
Read in Front of and to Your Children
You probably already understand the importance of reading to your child. Kids whose parents read aloud to them hear over a million more words than children whose parents don’t read to them. That can be a huge advantage when it comes to reading and writing in school.
However, providing your child with lifelong reading habits means more than reading their favorite book with them before bed every night.
Parents who read for fun in front of their kids are more likely to have kids that grow up to read too, so sit down on the couch and try reading for fun yourself!
Encourage Their Interests
Every child has natural talents. Unfortunately, if they think those talents are dumb, or if they think they aren’t very good at whatever it is they’re interested in, they may drop it for good. This can cause your child to develop low self-esteem, not to mention it sets them up to have a less fulfilling adulthood.
Help your child develop their true talents, no matter what they may be. It is important to note that you should support them in their interests, but that doesn’t mean you should try and make them interested in something just because you want them to be.
If they don’t enjoy what they’re doing, they aren’t going to give it their all, and they’re likely to drop it as soon as they become an adult.
It’s important to care for your child’s mental and physical health right now, but it’s also important to think about your child’s mental and physical health in the future.
The tips on this list will help you set them up for a lifetime of personal success.
Additional Reading: 5 Life Lessons Kids Can Learn Through Running