How to Teach Your Kids Healthy Habits

Make a healthy lifestyle a regular part of your child's life. Here are six tips to help create healthy habits for you and your family.

1. Cook Together

Getting kids involved in food preparation is a great way to teach them about nutrition and healthy eating. Teaching them to cook also gives them the skills they need to keep eating right throughout their lives.

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2. Eat Together

Eating at least one meal together as a family each day not only helps you make sure your child is eating well, but it also elevates meal time to something more than just "get food".  It creates bonding time for you and your child and makes the quality of the meal—and the time—more important.

3. Set Play Dates

Friends can have a big influence on children. If play dates involve physical activity, then children will be more excited to do those activities. Your child will enjoy playing tennis, playing in the park, or just going for a walk much more when he does it with a friend.

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4. Turn Off the Screens

TVs, computers and telephones are big distractions for kids and adults. Turn everything off for a couple of hours every week. This gets both you and your children engaging more directly with the world. This can be good for your child's fitness and gives him or her better opportunity to communicate in the real world.

5. Prioritize Extracurricular Activities

Since many schools have cut back on physical education, a child's only real opportunity to get the exercise he needs may be during his extracurricular activities. By prioritizing these activities, you are also teaching him how important it is to value the use of his free time.

6. Walk the Talk

"Do as I say, not as I do" has never been an effective teaching method. The best way to teach your children about having a healthy lifestyle is to live healthfully. The habits you set for yourself have a significant influence over your children. Your healthy habits are likely to become their healthy habits.

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About the Author

Jason Sheridan, owner of Sheridan Fencing Academy in New York City, coaches the 2013 Junior World Championship silver medalist, along with many of the other top fencers in the US. He specializes in developing high-level youth athletes by emphasizing the fun—and eliminating the monotony—in exercise and training.

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