Monday, October 22, 2012

Supporting Your Children to Make Healthy Choices

Written by Dawn Antestenis, Fresh Start Blogger


Tip 1 : Make Healthy Choices Yourself

We all know this as parents, but it can't be repeated often enough, our kids learn from our behaviour.  So if they see us reaching for the healthy snack over the chocolate bar they are more likely to make the same healthy choice themselves.  Further, making sure they have healthy food choices available to them at home makes it a whole lot easier for them to make the healthy choice when the time comes.  To reinforce the healthy choices you make in your daily life with your kids why not talk about it with them - explain how you made the decision and why you did!

Tip 2 : Start with Small Choices

There is so much choice out there in the world today, a great thing in many ways, but also potentially overwhelming for our kids!  Good news is we can help.  The safe environment of the family home is a great place to start to explore making choices with your kids.  Start with choices over small things like what they want to wear that day.  Don't give them too many options, just two choices to start with.  Then once they have decided celebrate with them that they have made a decision!  Whatever you do don't over confuse or undermine them by not following through with their choice, or offering extra choices.  It is as simple as "Would you like to wear the green skirt or the blue pants?"..."Blue pants please"..."Ok great, excellent choice!  Now lets put your blue pants on!"

Tip 3 : Help Them Understand that Choices have Consequences

Again this is an opportunity to explore what choices mean in everyday life with your kids.  Keep an ear out for choices they make during the day and take some time out with them to talk about how they made these decisions and how they felt about the consequences.  Starting these conversations early on in their lives, around small decisions that they have made around the house, starts the learning early and helps them build skills that will prepare them for bigger decisions that will have larger consequerences later in life!

Tip 4 : Start a Choice Journal

Last but not least, encourage your kids to start a Choice Journal.  This is a place for them to write down choices they have made that day, and in doing so reflect on how they made them and what the outcome was, all the time building skills in decision making that will serve them well in years to come!

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