Saturday, March 11, 2023

A POSITIVE DIRECTION: Helping Your Kids to Make Healthy Decisions

Modern life can bring with it all kinds of risky temptations for teenagers, and as a parent, it is not always easy to stay on top of things. But if you’re willing to read up and exercise some patience, it is possible to educate and help your children make healthy choices. 

Here some examples of how to start: 

Healthy Eating

In the age of smartphones, junk food is only ever a tap away. With the unhealthy options so easily accessible, it can be difficult for children and teenagers to resist indulging in fried foods, burgers, and soft drinks. Fortunately, there are also incentives to drag us all in a more positive dietary direction - Instagram, for example, has given rise to a healthy-eating counterculture. Sometimes, just by introducing a young person to positive, diet-focused influencers, you can shape their eating habits for the better.
Another great way to get the kids eating healthier is by introducing them to new recipes. Cooking is, in itself, an enjoyable activity when done right. Many children (and especially teenagers) would love to be more self-sufficient, and cooking could give them more independence as well as an outlet for stress. If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of excellent recipes online that can be prepared by amateurs.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of exercise in the life of a growing child but many kids aren’t getting nearly enough daily exercise. Trying to get them engaged in sports and physical activity is a struggle when there is so much viewing content and video games on offer. The key is often to give them the choice - by appealing to a child’s self-interest you can often incentivize them to volunteer to exercise.
Another way to interest them involved in physical activity is to possibly add a home gym. A basement, garage, or unused bedroom makes a great spot for a gym. Start off slow by investing in some rubber flooring, resistance bands, and a few weights. If you’re planning on making more substantial upgrades, be sure to track updates as certain improvements can raise the value of your home. 
If your child is someone who engages with online multiplayer games, there’s a good chance that he or she is competitive. This is also an advantage if you’re trying to steer them towards exercise, as team sports will appeal to their sense of competition and often provide some much-needed relief from any pent-up stress or frustration. If they have had bad experiences with one sport, it might be worth suggesting another - just remember, ultimately this will have to be their choice and by pushing too hard you can create push-back.
Dating apps are now an inextricable part of life for young people and there are some built specifically for teenagers (ages 13-18.) Many young people have positive experiences through these apps but they also come with some risks. As a parent, it’s useful to define your own parameters on what is and what isn’t appropriate when it comes to online dating but, if you can’t keep the kids away from their phones, the next best thing is to open a constructive dialogue. By listening to their point of view and sharing your own, you may find you’re able to compromise and create some rules together.
Safety is always the primary concern when it comes to teens and dating - this is true on and offline. To help keep your child/teenager safe when exploring new apps, it is important to observe good advice. A match should always have a verified profile, and it’s not uncommon to talk virtually on video before meeting in real life. Just keeping your kids informed on these issues is a surefire way to encourage caution.
Growing up is never easy and part of that is making mistakes and part of being a parent is forgiving them and understanding their "growing pains." And it is very important to always try to steer them in the right direction to make healthy decisions. 

Just remember to always keep conversations light and open.


Guest Blog Post:
Cheryl Conklin
Wellness Central

Wellness is central to a happy life.

(Image source by Pexels)

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