Healthy advice for new parents
Congratulations, you’re a parent. Have you thought what that means or what type of parent you want to be? Parenting is a more complex job than you may think.
Parenting is about taking care of your child’s needs from infancy all the way to adulthood. You need to support their physical, emotional, social and educational growth. That’s a big responsibility.
If you take it slow and put in the effort, you can raise your child to be a well-rounded, healthy adult. Here are some key points to think about along the way.
Two different ways of parenting
One way is to take charge and be firm. This is called “authoritative” parenting. It’s been shown to lead to healthy behaviors in children. You set goals and lead by example. You show healthy behaviors for your child, and give them positive reinforcement.
The other way is “permissive” parenting. Parents let their children make their own choices. They can do what they want, when they want. Permissive parenting may seem friendlier and less strict. But it’s also been linked to poor choices and behavior problems.
Help your child build healthy habits
Habits form early in life. And once they’re formed, habits can be hard to break. It’s best to set rules early. Habits for healthy eating, exercise and social skills are important to get right, right from the start.
Be true to your word
Make sure your child knows you’ll do what you say. If you promise something will happen when they’re good or bad, be sure to follow through. If you go back on your rules, your child will learn that they don’t need to follow them. This could lead to problems later on.
Make sure your child eats healthy foods
Children need good food to grow strong. Don’t let your child choose what they want to eat. You know what’s healthy and what your child needs for growth. It may be easier to just serve what your child likes, but it’s not good for lifelong health. Make healthy meals and help your child learn signs for when they have had enough to eat. Keep your child eating right and staying active for life.
Limit TV and video games
Children need to be active. Keep the TV out of your child’s room. Help your child find other things to do to learn and grow. It’s okay to shut off the electronics and make children go outside to play.
Take a good look at yourself, too
You need to be the person you want your child to be. It doesn’t work to expect your child to do what you won’t do yourself. You showing healthy eating, exercising and respecting others is the best way to teach your child. Being a parent is not the same as being a friend to your child. Try not to complain about eating healthy food or going to the gym in front of your children.
Be a healthy family together. Have fun sharing meals and getting exercise together. It’ll bring you closer and give you all the best chance to enjoy long and healthy lives.