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As a parent, it’s your job to lay the foundation for your children to make wise decisions in the future. Setting up routines and habits that focus on physical activity, good nutrition, and stress management will help your kids develop into adults who are well-equipped to handle the challenges of life. To help, the Inside Out Club has put together some of our favorite tips for guiding children toward healthy choices. The Inside Out Club empowers youth to live each day with good character. Learn how you can get involved at www.insideoutclub.org.


Healthy Coping Strategies

Life is full of stressful situations, from exams to relationship issues. Teaching your kids how to manage their stress levels will help them stay calm during difficult times. You can start by modeling healthy coping mechanisms yourself and showing them how you use healthy distraction techniques, such as yoga or meditation, when things become overwhelming. You can also talk openly with your children about their feelings and discuss ways they can productively work through them by acting as their emotion coach.


Volunteer Together

Volunteering with your children comes with a host of benefits that can positively impact both your child and the community. First and foremost, volunteering together helps build stronger bonds within the family unit. It also allows children to develop empathy towards others and learn the value of giving back to their community.

Volunteering also provides children with valuable experiences and skills that can be useful later in life, such as leadership, teamwork, and communication. Talk to your kids about a cause they’re interested in and see if you can volunteer.


Screen Time Limits

Too much screen time can lead to negative health effects such as obesity, poor sleep habits, and even behavioral problems. Verywell Family advises setting limits on the amount of time each family member spends on screens each day — that means parents, too! This ensures there is enough time left over for physical activity and playtime with friends or siblings. You should also take steps to ensure that any content your children view online is appropriate for all members of the family.


Open Dialogue About Drugs and Alcohol

As parents, teaching our children about making good decisions means talking about avoiding bad ones, too — especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Nemours KidsHealth suggests talking openly with your kids about the risks associated with these substances, so they understand why using them isn’t an option if they want to have a successful future. Also, make sure that you set clear boundaries around drug or alcohol use within the home, so there’s no room for confusion or misunderstanding among family members.


Exercise Habits

Making sure your children get enough physical activity is an important part of helping them make healthy choices as adults. Set aside 30 minutes every day for family activities like taking a walk together or playing a game outdoors. If you live in an apartment complex, take advantage of its exercise facilities. If yours lacks these facilities, consider searching for a new place with an on-site gym when your lease is up.


Healthy Food Choices

Eating habits are formed early on, so parents need to teach their children about eating healthy from an early age. Prepare plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products while limiting processed foods like chips and those with high amounts of added sugar like soda. Not only will these choices set them up for good health for life, but your kids will have more energy and get the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Caffeine too late in the day can make it hard to get quality sleep. And since it’s a diuretic, it can cause dehydration, too.


Set Your Kids Up for a Healthy Future

Helping your children make healthy choices can seem daunting, however, there are plenty of simple steps you can take every day. And when you implement some of the suggestions above, you can lay strong foundations now that will serve all members of your family well throughout life.

By Hannah Simpson