Part of your responsibility as a parent is to teach your children how to lead healthy lives. The best time to start teaching these lessons to children is when they’re young, before unhealthy choices become lifelong bad habits. When you want to pass on healthy habits to your kids, it’s important to practice what you preach. Just telling your kids what to do won’t necessarily work—they need to see you choosing healthy behaviors too.
The following are some ways to help your kids avoid unhealthy behaviors.
Children in the United States are gaining more weight than ever before. They’re eating too much high-fat, high-sugar food and are spending less time being physically active. Weight problems that develop during childhood can lead to weight-related illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Kids may become curious about drugs at a young age. In fact, many children have already tried alcohol and marijuana by the time they reach middle school. Studies have shown the sooner you start talking to your kids about the dangers of using tobacco, drinking alcohol and using other drugs, the more likely it is that they will avoid them.
Each year, approximately 1 million teenage girls will become pregnant. Three million teens will get a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Even though it may seem embarrassing, you need to talk to your children about the risks and responsibilities of being sexually active. Don’t simply depend on the sexual education taught in schools. You play an important role in helping your kids understand sex in terms of love, intimacy and respect, as well as how to protect themselves from pregnancy and disease.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff