How to Teach Your Kids to Make Better Life Choices

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As a parent, you probably feel that it’s your responsibility to teach your children how to deal with the many issues they will face in life. There’s a lot to go over and there’s no manual that explains how you can achieve this. Every step or measure you take feels like it might have the opposite effect if done incorrectly. Luckily, there are a couple of ways to help steer your child towards the right path in life.

1. Make healthy eating part of your household

Nutrition is something that every parent needs to pay attention to. You want your child to grow up big and strong and not just end up being “big”. Children weigh a lot more than they used to. Obesity is on the rise in younger generations and there are a few things to blame. A lack of physical activity is one of the reasons, but the main problem is how parents handle nutrition. Developing healthy eating habits is crucial if you want your child to stay fit and healthy throughout his or her life.

Like any other part of development, eating habits start at home. Parents have to teach their children how to eat properly. However, children aren’t immune to the idea of hypocrisy. If you want to teach them something, you have to do it by example. If you regularly make healthy home-cooked meals for the whole family, then that’s something that your child will be used to. However, if you make it a habit to eat chips and cookies by the TV, your child will surely follow in your footsteps.

The type of food you buy at the supermarket is crucial. If you decide to buy junk food and fizzy drinks, someone is going to inevitably eat them. It might seem obvious, but you can stop most of the problem by simply not buying anything that is considered “unhealthy”.

Proper musculoskeletal development requires a lot of vitamins and minerals, which means their diet has to be varied. Try to switch things up every weekend. Try some new kind of food that includes fish, nuts, or some exotic fruit.

2. Let them make their own mistakes

Every parent wants what’s best for their child. If you could have it your way, your child would never have any problems and they would go through life as painlessly as possible. However, this isn’t how it works and your child is bound to make mistakes along the way. Even if you were the best teacher in the world, you’d still see them fail every once in a while.

You need to realize that this is perfectly natural. Humans tend to make mistakes, especially when they’re young and inexperienced. The most important thing is that we learn from them. If your child wants to take their favourite toy to school, there’s no reason to stop them. Other kids might break it or it could get lost, but it’s not the end of the world. Your child might feel bad for a while, but they’ll learn a valuable lesson.

You can’t make progress without making mistakes. Many parents take their children’s mistakes a bit too seriously and end up chastising them. Try to explain how their decision lead to something bad and let them learn from it. You won’t be able to coddle your child forever and it’s inevitable that they’ll make some bad decisions in their life.

3. Give them chores to do

Nobody likes doing chores. Whether you’re young or old, mowing the lawn probably isn’t your favourite activity in the world. As you get older, you could get lucky and actually start enjoying the peacefulness of doing chores and the end result of having a clean home. Your children probably won’t develop these types of feelings any time soon. They will be just as grumpy while sweeping the floor as they always were. However, the chores still need to be done.

It’s good to teach your kids the value of chores. By making them do chores, you’re not just making your own life easier, you’re directly impacting their own view of household responsibilities. Having these types of healthy cleaning habits is an enormous benefit in your child’s life. When they grow up and start living on their own, you can bet that they’ll be glad that they kept the habit of doing chores.

4. Help them with social skills

One of the reasons childhood and teenage years are such dynamic periods in our lives is because we start meeting new people for the first time. There’s no manual out there to tell you how to handle social situations, which is why children are understandably confused and awkward during this period.

Good social skills are important for more than just making friends, you need them to get ahead in life. Various studies have shown that more sociable young adults turn out to be more successful in their careers. This isn’t all that surprising. If you’ve ever worked with socially awkward individuals, you might have noticed that they have a hard time adapting to the workplace.

Social competence can help your children in a variety of ways. It allows them to work on projects that require teamwork and cooperation. They will be able to learn from their companions and avoid making certain mistakes. Most of all, interacting with lots of people helps develop empathy and understanding.

Encourage your kids to play with friends and welcome any and all questions regarding how to approach a social situation. Enrol them in something like sports or dancing, children tend to create strong bonds and friendships during the course of these activities.

5. Explain vices and harmful substances

A parent’s greatest fear is to watch their child get caught up in substance abuse. Addictions are diseases that affect every part of an individual’s life and getting rid of them can be tough. Some addictions are milder in their consequences, but that doesn’t take away from the problems that they cause.

Smoking is something that children can’t avoid noticing. It has become a staple of modern culture and you can’t get through a movie without seeing at least one character smoke. Because of its ubiquitous nature, smoking is one of the first vices that children are exposed to. By the end of middle school, you can expect that your child has been offered a smoke or two already.

Forbidding alcohol, smoking, and other drugs is a given. Just about every parent will have this rule in their home. As we all know, rules hardly stop children from experimenting. Becoming stricter or searching your child’s belongings will only further the divide between you and it won’t affect their choices. The best course of action would be to turn to education.

Children aren’t usually aware of the many consequences that follow addictions. Teach them about the many health and social issues that follow these types of substances and how they could spend their time more productively. Peer pressure is a difficult thing to overcome, but you have to remember that part of the underlying issue is teenage rebellion. If you take the time to explain yourself in a calm and thoughtful manner, your child will take that information into account.

6. Remind them to be health conscious

Kids are infamous for not wanting to go to the doctor. There is a perceived fear of the unknown and doctors are often thought of as boogeymen that only exist to cause pain. This might not translate into adulthood the same way, but there are still a lot of people that avoid doctors all the same. You want your child to go for regular check-ups when they grow up in order to avoid any complications with their health.

Some people avoid health professionals because they don’t trust them. It can be hard to put your health in someone else’s hands, especially when you’re sick and vulnerable. It could be a matter of pride because you can’t possibly be sick when you’re young and strong. Your children will treat doctor’s appointments differently if you help them understand their importance.

The importance of dental care can’t be understated. A lot of people forego going to the dentist because they never formed the habit while they were young. The earlier you start, the quicker your child will adapt to going to a kids dentist regularly. To help them overcome their fear, you can start by emphasizing the importance of having healthy teeth. They aren’t just tools to chew with, they are also the key element to a pretty smile. A good set of pearly whites will motivate them to smile more. Everyone likes seeing a bright and confident smile.  

7. Teach them how to remain fit

Fitness is an essential part of everyday life, or at least it should be. Keeping your body healthy influences your state of mind and your level of confidence. You want your children to stay as healthy as possible and that means paying attention to exercise.

A lot of kids are enrolled in activities like team sports in order to keep them healthy and occupied. However, this doesn’t seem to have a lasting impact on young adults. As soon as university starts, you can expect them to forego these types of activities. Some switch over to using the gym or going to yoga classes because they are more convenient and take up less of their time. Those that don’t find another outlet for physical energy often find themselves gaining weight and becoming lazy.

It’s important that you ingrain the importance of fitness into your child’s mind. Try to lead by example. You don’t have to go to the gym or participate in sports, but you can do some exercises of your own. Anything from morning stretches to running could help influence your kid. As long as you remain fit, your child will probably follow in your footsteps.

Conclusion

Being a parent isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. You get to watch your child grow from a baby to a full grown adult before your eyes and that can be a frightening concept. It’s your job to keep them alive until they grow up, but what will happen afterwards? If you take the time to change your household and apply some good philosophies, you are giving them a great head start for good decisions in life.

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