Whether you are consciously making a decision or if it’s an automatic choice, we all make choices that impact our days. We all make less thoughtful decisions when we feel rushed, but kids are especially likely to make snap decisions on a regular basis. When we give kids the opportunity to learn and make choices about their health and wellness, we give them the opportunity to create healthy habits that will help kids feel great throughout their lives.
What can you do to encourage your kids to make healthy choices? Start with the simple choices to build self-confidence. Encourage kids to be mindful of how many different choices they make throughout the day.
- Do you wear your shoes on your hands or your feet?
- What color of shirt did you choose today?
- What did you decide to eat for lunch?
Once your kids have developed an awareness of how many choices they make throughout their days, you can start to encourage them to make decisions of their own. One easy way to do this is by offering options, so your kids can feel more in control of what they do during the day.
- Do you want to wear red pants or blue pants today?
- Do you want to brush your teeth before or after reading a bedtime story?
- Do you want to go on the swing or go down the slide at the park?
After regular decision making is established with your kids, it’s time to start incorporating options that encourage healthy habits! You set the tone of the positive choice and then offer them two options to help avoid a power struggle. You can try different options like:
- Screen time is over for today. Do you want to color a picture or read a book?
- We’re having chicken and rice for dinner. Do you want to drink milk or water?
- It’s time to play outside! Do you want to go on a walk or play in the sprinkler?
Before you know it, your kids will be reaching for water over soda and getting ready for screen-free time all by themselves. And don’t forget, healthy habits aren’t created overnight. It’s okay if not every day is perfect or if there are a few setbacks. If your kids are having a hard time making healthy choices or are feeling discouraged, you can reinforce the choices they’ve made with some detailed compliments. This can sound like:
- “I know green beans aren’t your favorite vegetable, but I’m proud of you for trying them.”
- “I am so excited to play a board game with you when you finish reading your book!”
And at the end of the day, remind yourself that you’re making an effort to inspire healthy habits and that’s what matters.
Ready for More? You Might Also Like:
Power of You Activity Book
Kick Boredom with Healthy Choices
Let’s BLOOM: An Activity to Inspire Healthy Habits