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Getting Healthy for the Sake of Your Kids

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Parents are mentors for their children. When you make healthy life choices, your children pay attention. And when you make unhealthy life choices, your kids also pay attention. There are consequences for your actions.

Parents should want to be role models for their children. Even if you've lived an unhealthy lifestyle, it's not too late to change for the sake of your kids.

Make Getting Healthy a Family Affair

Your entire family needs to get on the health kick with you. Sure, you can do it alone, but when everyone gets healthy together, your kids have a chance to learn a new life lesson. There are a few options that you can follow to ensure your children start their lives with a healthy attitude:

  1. Nutrition. Teach your kids that nutritious foods are something that they ought to enjoy. Explain how fruits and vegetables will help your kids grow strong. Find snacks that they enjoy that are healthy and nutritious – ditch the fast food and processed foods.

  2. Exercise. Make exercise fun. It's difficult to make exercise fun when you're too strict. You may be able to go to the gym and lift dumbbells all day, but it's not a fun activity for everyone. Find things to keep your entire family active: tennis, soccer, kayaking, swimming – anything that's fun, active and the kids even want to do.

These two family-involved activities will keep you and your kids healthy. But remember that healthy choices start with mom and dad. You'll need to get rid of those habits that have been holding you back, too.

Kick Any Bad-for-You Habits

Children of parents that smoke at the age of 12 are twice as likely to start smoking between the ages of 13 and 21, according to the University of Washington. Parents that want the best for their kids often don't want them to smoke.

You need to kick these habits, and any other unhealthy habits you have. Explain to your children that you're quitting because of the health-related risks associated with smoking. Merely disapproving of smoking is not enough when the parent continues smoking.

Parents need to do anything they can to stop these habits, such as:

  • Following the smoking cessation formula or using NRT to quit

  • Considering non-nicotine medicines

  • Preparing for quit day and being ready to give it your all

  • Behavioral support is available (1-800 QUIT NOW), and offers local and state support

Children will have a sense of happiness and satisfaction in knowing that their parents are doing everything they can to stop smoking.

Drinking too much is also no good. You'll want to go to alcoholics anonymous or stop the addictive patterns that you've been following.

The key most important thing is to be the mentor for your children. Mentors that are able to show their children that even they make mistakes will teach kids a valuable lesson: accountability.

Make the right choices for your children.

This means teaching your kids the importance of sleep, healthy eating, maintaining a proper weight, exercising, kicking bad habits, eating balanced meals and having fun. You'll work on getting healthy for your kids while also enjoying a happier, healthier life yourself.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.