Children are sponges. They absorb all of the information around them, and they will do the things they see their parents do. This extends to all aspects of their lives, from how they dress and eat to whether they smoke or do drugs during their teen years. As parents, we alone carry the burden of instilling healthy habits in our children now. Here are three lessons to teach your children that will encourage a healthier lifestyle, presented below by Skyline Insurance.
Nurture Their Education
The importance of education cannot be understated, so it’s crucial to encourage a love of learning and to do what you can to support your child’s school career. This includes helping them with their homework or connecting them with the necessary services that will provide assistance and motivation. You can even lead by example. If you’ve been contemplating enrolling in higher education or going back to school, take the leap! Not only will you be modeling resilience and determination, but you’ll be boosting your earning potential.
Promote Online Safety
More kids use or own devices these days than ever before. This means that the more time they spend online, the more they may be at risk of exposure to internet dangers such as cyberbullying, online scams, and predators. This is especially true if you allow your child to use dating apps, many of which are geared toward teenagers. Be sure to discuss the dangers of these apps, and vet the profiles of anyone your child clicks with.
It’s crucial that you and your child practice online safety to reduce or prevent these threats. Encourage them to communicate with you if they experience cyberbullying, teach them to ask you for permission before buying a product online, and educate them on recognizing warning signs when it comes to predators.
How to Drive Safely
Each year, thousands of teenagers are killed in automobile accidents. Many of these are the unfortunate victim of a careless driver; others are themselves the cause of the accident. As your child enters their later teen years, they will learn how to drive, and it is your responsibility to teach them how to do so safely. Learning how to safely operate a vehicle starts by being given the opportunity to practice regularly.
If it is offered at your child’s high school, enroll them in a driver safety course. You can also find private companies that offer this service, and there are many online driver education programs that can teach them the fundamentals. In addition to their formal training, talk to your children about the dangers of driving while tired, stressed out, or in a hurry. They should also be taught how to spot a dangerous driver and what to do about it.
Why Drinking and Doing Drugs Is So Dangerous
There is no way to guarantee that your child will not come into contact with drugs or alcohol. They are exposed to these things at school, at the mall, and even at sporting events. What you can do, however, is to discuss with them the dangers of putting these substances into their bodies. As The Recovery Village notes, children are often exposed to more outside influences when they enter school. This is the time to discuss the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. A good opportunity to bring up the topic is when these substances are depicted on television.
Alcohol is particularly dangerous for teens because it is so readily available. You can reduce the chances that your emerging adults will want to experiment by letting them know under no uncertain terms how you feel about drinking. Avoid the temptation to be the “cool” parent; it is never okay to offer your children alcohol, even if you believe that allowing it at home will keep them safe. It will not. Instead, your children may be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol if they think that these behaviors are in any way acceptable.
Fast Food Is Not a Substitute for Real Food
The food that your kids put into their bodies can be just as harmful as drugs. While there is nothing wrong with a tasty treat (just remember to keep them stashed in the back of the pantry and out of easy reach), overeating and putting non-nutritional food into their bodies is an absolute recipe for disaster. The US National Library of Medicine notes that obesity can significantly diminish a person’s quality of life and very often leads to co-occurring issues such as diabetes and obesity hypoventilation syndrome.
Model healthy eating habits for your children, and get them involved in the kitchen as young as possible. It should come as no surprise that kids who assist in preparing their own food are more likely to eat it, even when it’s something they otherwise would not choose for themselves. Other ways to encourage your children to prioritize nutrition is to give them plenty of choices, reduce their access to caffeinated and sugary beverages, and make desserts a special event instead of an everyday occurrence. Also make sure to include low-calorie and healthy snacks like pumpkin seeds, avocado toast, and apple nachos. Remember, everything they eat contributes to their growth and development, so make every bite count.
Unfortunately, you can’t protect your children from everything, but you can instill habits in them that will keep them safe and healthy for the long haul. Teaching them about online safety, safe driving, drugs, and alcohol, and nutrition are four ways you can do just that.
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