Setting a Healthy Example for Your Family
By: Sara Marie
As a mother, one thing I have learned is that there are no definitive answers when it comes to raising my kids. There are definitely things that work for me and my family, as well as things that fail. I am constantly going back to the drawing board searching for ways to better myself as a mother. Seeking out help from friends has been a great resource, but sometimes they have a tactic they swear by that just doesn’t transition well to my family. That doesn’t mean they are wrong. Raising kids is all about being able to try something new at a moment’s notice, evolving your skills and being adaptable as the kids grow.
One thing I have learned that is consistent when it comes to keeping my children happy and healthy is making sure I am happy and healthy. Being a good role model to my children is my number one priority. By modeling healthy behaviors, I'm teaching them the importance of wellness instead of just telling them. I get up every morning before they do, which means they wake up as soon as I am coming back home from the gym. Having them see me sweaty and energized after a good workout is a great example for them in the morning. As they get older, they learn how much commitment and dedication it takes to have that as part of a healthy routine every morning.
Additionally, I take the approach of getting my girls involved with sports and allowing them to pick a sport they are passionate about. Through sports, kids are committed to practicing daily and always striving to do their best no matter what. To pick something and stick with it is a challenge in itself to learn, but a lesson that the girls will carry with them their entire lives. Not everything in life is easy, and they will have the skills to persevere during those tough times.
I teach my girls about healthy food choices and the importance of moderation in all things, from snacks to packing lunches to enjoying a treat. I stress the importance of starting their day as best as possible by fueling their bodies with nutrient-dense foods that provide lots of energy for school and extracurricular activities. I don’t just supply the food for them to just eat, but let them partake in preparing their meals. Because let's face it, children are picky. To get over this burden, I have them partake in making dinner with me. It makes them feel good eating something they helped put together. In fact, it is usually a part of dinner conversation, with each kid being proud of a part of it they did themselves. The magic to it all is that eventually, they suggest and pick out the right food to prepare for themselves, leaving me proud and not needing to assist as much.
Of course, balance is the biggest goal. It is important for my kids to know that dieting shouldn’t be a torturing task you put yourself through. Instead, "dieting" is just living a healthy life, while indulging here and there. My goal is for each of my girls to look at themselves in the mirror being happy, confident and comfortable in each of their own skins. That at the end of the day is the greatest gift to a mother.