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It is important for parents to be a good role model for their children in terms of healthy habits.

However, this can be a challenge when schools or people are excessively policing food. Some schools in Australia are making children line up in their class each morning and showing the teacher what they have for lunch that day. This can actually have damaging effects on children, as their parents may not be able to afford much, or they simply may not care or understand the benefits of healthy food.

It is important for parents to develop healthy habits with their children from an early age.

 Some key points that parents of kids with a healthy approach to eating have in common:

1. They understand how important it is for them to be a good role model and how this plays a part in their kids’ health.

2. They don’t put down the way they look in front of their kids. If you are constantly looking in the mirror or asking “am I fat?”, children will pick up on this and do the same.

3. They don’t make nasty comments about other people’s bodies. Again, this can make children think that others need to look a certain way.

4. They don’t calorie count their children’s food.

5. Instead of shaming their children about unhealthy eating, they stock up their cupboards with healthy food.

6. They don’t abstain from foods because they’re ‘being good’, or indulge because they’re ‘being bad’. Don’t bake a cake with your child and then not try some with them because you’re ‘being good’, as this can lead to bad habits.

7. They help their kids identify things that they like about themselves. This can promote a positive self-image that isn’t centrally focused on the body. Things like intelligence and kindness should be equally as important as physical health.

8. They help children understand that their body is changing as they grow up and enter puberty and adolescence.

9. They send the message that being active is an important thing and something that should be enjoyed.

10. They talk to their children’s health practitioners about any concerns and seek medical advice about a child’s weight rather than from other parents.

Parents of healthy kids are universally creating an environment where their children can focus on being active, healthy and spending time with their friends. When we promote the idea that we should look or behave a certain way, we can influence our children in ways that can damage their social and mental health. Health is made up of a biological, psychological and social component mixture that does not focus on any one factor.

How do you share healthy ideas with your kids?

Image source Shutterstock.

  • An interesting article – however parents show by example. We grew our own food, like my parents did, and the children learned to eat what was in season and loved it. They often picked their food from the garden for that night’s meal. They enjoyed fresh vegies and fruit from their yard and rarely asked for junk food

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  • A great article with interesting points raised.

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  • So great points. I never put myself or my body down in front of my daughter. So much negativity out there already, she doesn’t need to hear it from her mum.

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  • Good tips, we try to instill them all ????

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  • I think we’re good role models and my son has a good understanding of healthy eating. We do not talk about weight, but unfortunately we are surrounded by many people that do, and whose focus is purely on image. We use these people’s behaviour to teach our son on what not to focus on, to do or say. It’s obviously a work-in-progress and his influences are now also school, TV, peers, etc.

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  • number 4 is a bit full on. only do that on medical advice

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  • shaming was part of my parents psyche – they loved my brother and I but sadly parented negatively… If I really analyse my parenting, I think I have some of their traits too, but try hard to focus on the positive

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  • Have to admit I’m bad for number 2. I’m always on about my big bum or flabby belly :/ You just don’t realise the impact sometimes

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  • The comment about not shaming peoples bodies is rather timely. There has been some nasty comments about some competitors at the Olympic Games this week. I agree with not calorie counting childrens food. We need to be concentrating on nutritional values of what we eat and drink

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  • good tips!

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  • In our home we tend to focus on balanced home cooked meals for the week with occasional treats here and there.

    Reply

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