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Make it Fun: Teaching Kids Healthy Habits

Make it Fun: Teaching Kids Healthy Habits
February 11
21:46 2016

When you’re busy and exhausted, teaching your children about finance may be the last thing on your mind. But when it comes to key life skills like organization, finance, fitness, and nutrition, what kids learn from their parents plays a huge role in success later on down the road. Keep reading for some fun ways to educate your children without making it seem like a punishment.

The Value of Money

Teach-Children-Value-of-MoneyHow do you explain that you can’t have every toy you want to a child who knows his parents don’t struggle with money?
Playing board games is one of the best ways to teach kids that money is a limited resource. We recommend Sorry and Monopoly to teach children about diversification. For teenagers, we recommend the popular resource management game Settlers of Catan.

Organization

Children who view “cleaning up” as a punishment are less likely to be clean and organized in the future. Make cleaning fun by creating a game the children can participate in at the end of the day. For example, let them scatter their toys around the playroom or around the house as much as they like. At the end of the day, have a contest to see who can clean up the most toys in the least amount of time. The winner earns a prize or points towards a weekly or monthly prize.

Healthy Eating

picky-kid-eats-vegatablesGetting kids to eat – let alone try – healthy foods can be difficult. The most important thing you can do here is to be a healthy role model. You might not realize it, but kids really do watch everything you do – including food choices.

Educate your kids while serving meals. Make connections between foods and benefits, such as: salmon will make you “stronger,” whole wheat bread will make you “faster,” or broccoli will make you “smarter.” Avoid words like cholesterol that they may not understand or care about. Let them participate in the cooking process.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the meal over which parents have the most control. Be creative to encourage healthy eating. For example: top a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and fruit to make a smiley face or use a familiar word to get them to try new things, such as breakfast “pizza” (a tortilla topped with eggs, cheese, tomato sauce, spinach, bacon, etc.) or “milkshakes” (a nutritious smoothie).

Staying Active

KidsExercisingDid you know that childhood obesity has more than doubled during the past 30 years? Obesity can have serious emotional and physical effects later in life that can prevent your children from being healthy, happy, and successful. The earlier obesity starts, the harder it is to overcome.

The biggest thing you can do when it comes to teaching your kids about exercise is to be a good role model. If your kids see you exercising, chances are they will want to join you.

Encourage family bike rids or get more creative and try a “spelunking” night walk around the neighborhood (wear headlamps during an evening walk). Encourage your kids to try a new sport or class, but don’t push them.

While you may not think of yoga as a children’s activity, the exercise teaches flexibility, concentration, and calm and can easily be turned into a child-friendly activity (have them make animal noises during poses with animal names, etc.).

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April Kuhlman

April Kuhlman

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