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Children Behaving Beautifully: Instilling Good Habits In your Kids

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

We all hope and pray for healthy children, but once they are part of our world and the world at large, instilling and ensuring healthy habits, at least without “nagging” may not be as easy as you thought. After all our kids are the target market for video games, afternoon and early evening programming, junk-food and fast-food advertising, and the list goes on. And, all of the above help keep our kids develop poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.

They key to guiding them in the right direction note experts is making these essential life lessons fun.

· Make dinner a family affair: Experts assert that most families eat dinner don’t spend enough quality time together, and in fact, most are busy doing their own thing; and that often includes dining and dashing or eating separately. However, families that sit down to a family meal, according to statistics, show a lower rate of drug use among tweens and teens.

They suggest making meal time mandatory, not only for establishing healthy eating habits, but also for exchanging ideas and improving family communications. And, they suggest doing this at minimum five times, if not more, a week.

Another suggestion is learning to unwind after a meal with a nice hot cup of antioxidant rich tea, and experience to share with the entire family. Tea is a great de-stressor and offers a relaxing pause to an otherwise busy and often hectic day.

· Make sugary snacks a special sweet treat: Kids tend to believe that having cake, cookies or some form of sugary dessert is simply part of a healthy meal plan. Break bad habits now by only offering them sugary substitutes only on “special” occasion. For instance reserve one day a week for falling off the healthy-eating wagon. Or, implement the 10% rule, allowing for up to 10% “junk food” as long as the rest of the diet (90%) is quality.

· Pleasing picky palates: Except for the exceptional few, most kids have “undeveloped” taste buds that simply don’t allow them to enjoy the intricate taste of healthy foods like fish, greens, fruits and veggies.

Experts suggest stimulating their taste buds by reading a story about other parts of the world, then going to a similar restaurant or preparing an ethnic meal at home. While your kid(s) may not like everything at least they are expanding their tastes and are trying at least something new.

· Moving them in the right direction: Statistics show that 75% or all children are significantly lacking in exercise. In fact, most don’t even get 1 hour of activity per day.
Experts suggest enrolling you kids in at least one extracurricular activity per season, ensuring it’s something that will keep them mentally and physically active.

Another option is turning up the tunes and having an at-home dance contest or party. You may also want to consider going for a bike ride, walk, or coming up with games that will get kids moving.

· Keeping them healthy from a to zzzzzz: A good night’s sleep, according to experts, is essential. However, they note that kids are typically not big fans of bedtime and most are deprives of between 1 to 2 ½ hours of sleep nightly for their age group. And, some studies suggest that this may lees to behaviour problems, poor grades and/or obesity.

Experts suggest replacing the traditional bedtime story with educational games and quizzes. Not only will this challenge your child but will also “tucker” him or her out by the time your expect them to get to bed.

Have a special routine that means lights out and customize it to each child. Consider kissing one (child) on the nose before bedtime and the other on the cheek or forehead. This will make each of your children feel special while also sending the signal that you mean business when it comes to bedtime.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Children Behaving Beautifully: Instilling Good Habits In your Kids

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