Fathers play a very integral role in their child’s lives, or at least they should. There is something magnificent and magical about dads when they walk in the room. Instantly they earn respect from their sons and daughters. This is why it is imperative for them to become positive role models to their little ones. It begins with teaching your children healthy eating practices and daily activity until it becomes behavioral habit. The goal is for them to carry this nourishing lifestyle into adulthood.
Here are five simple, yet important steps to healthier living for your children:
- Make a wide variety of healthful foods available and present in the house such as oranges, apples, bananas, raisins, walnuts, coconut yogurt and sunflower seeds. You will be amazed at how quickly they adapt when candy and soda are nonexistent.
- Take your children grocery shopping and include them in meal preparation. These activities will allow your children to feel a sense of accomplishment and a conviction to want eat or try the foods they help prepare. Explain to them why you add vegetables, fruits and whole grains to the cart first.
- A family that eats together stays together. Make mealtimes fun and pleasant with whimsical conversation and humor. This is not the time for scolding or arguing. If you set up an uncomfortable environment your children may attempt to eat faster in order to leave the table quickly. This may begin to associate eating with stress and of course fast food habits will be picked up.
- Discourage eating in front of the TV or computer since it will become difficult paying attention to the feeling of satiety or fullness and will lead to overeating.
- Never use sweets to reward your children for good deeds or behavior. When snacks such as candy are used as a reward, it psychologically causes the child to associate sugar and sweetness with pleasure and they begin to assume these foods are more valuable than healthier foods. For example, telling your child they will get dessert if they eat all of their vegetables sends the wrong message about vegetables.
As a father discipline must be your targeted platform. Everything you do is about teaching your child what type of behavior is acceptable and what type is not acceptable. Be a good leader in your home by taking responsibility for your health and your family’s health. Be a parent first and a buddy or friend second. Children need moral and ethical guidance and instruction from their fathers. They don’t need to figure it out alone. This results in disaster.
Happy Fit Fatherhood!
Words by Mike Bance