Ever told your kids to “do as you say, not as you do”? You were probably joking at the time, because we all know how well kids listen to their parents…not! The next time you’re desperately pleading to get your kids to change their behavior, act like an animal. Seriously. Monkey see, monkey do.
We all want our kids to grow up to be active and positive contributors to society. But contrary to our natural instincts, talking is not always the best form of communication when it comes to teaching them right from wrong. Remember, children don’t listen to what we say; they do what they see us do. In other words, they’re apes.
What does this mean for you?
1. Exercise often – From the newborn phase through the I-don’t-know-you high school years, there are plenty of activities you can do to help your kids learn the benefits of exercise. Not only will regular exercise help build muscle strength and endurance, it builds confidence and self-esteem — which teenagers often lack. By exercising with them from infancy and encouraging sports and fitness as they grow older, you’re making a valuable impression. When my sons were babies, I cuddled them and used them as “weights” while performing squats or dancing around the room.
2. Eat healthy foods in front of your kids – Eat breakfast and dinner as a family more often than not. Sitting down for a balanced meal is one great way to influence how your kids eat (for the better) and also opens lines of communication. You’re not with your kids 24/7; but when you are together, capitalize on that time. Let the kids help you prepare a healthy meal. And, when you’re packing their lunch for school, pack yourself an equally healthy meal with snacks.
3. Take your daily multis – No matter how clean you eat, there’s always a chance you’re missing key nutrients. Ensure you and your little ones are getting enough of the essential vitamins and minerals required by healthy, fit bodies. Choose a fruit-flavored gummy vitamin for the youngsters and be sure to take your own multi with a full glass of water. By taking your vitamins together and at the same time every day, it will eventually become a habit that your kids won’t want to miss. Kids thrive on a routine — much like animals.
Jennifer Nicole Lee is an international fitness model, best-selling author and motivational speaker who has appeared on Oprah, CBS The Early Show, Inside Edition, E! Entertainment and Fox and Friends. She is the author of the The Fun Fit Foodie Cookbook and was named one of the “Three Top Females in the Fitness Industry” of 2011 by Yahoo Sports. Check out her health and fitness tip videos exclusively on the Vitacost Live Wire.