Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Children
By Linda S. Rellergert MS, Nutrition and Health Education
Specialist University of Missouri Extension
Dads as well as moms play an important role in helping their
children develop good health habits. Healthy children eat
well, live a physically active life and feel good about
themselves and others. Children need encouragement from
parents and other significant adults to develop healthy
habits and attitudes.
Parents help their children develop good eating habits when they:
- Regularly provide family meals and snacks
- Do not pressure kids to eat foods they do not like
- Encourage children to stop eating when full
- Offer meals and snacks that are nutritious and good tasting
- Keep mealtimes pleasant
- Teach them how to deal with uncomfortable feelings without eating
- Allow children to decide whether or not to eat and how much to eat
- Keep the TV turned off during meals
These are some ways dads and moms help children get moving:
- Be physically active role models.
- Encourage children to be moderately active at least 60 minutes on most days.
- Move the TV out of bedrooms.
- Set limits on the amount of time the family watches TV, works on the computer and plays video games.
- Teach children games that you liked as a child.
- Make opportunities for active family recreation like playing ball, hiking or camping.
- Volunteer to help with your child’s after school
activities or sports.
To encourage children to feel good about themselves and others, moms and dads can:
- Show love and acceptance for every family member
- Refrain from making negative comments about one’s own body or others’.
- Give children time and attention.
- Really listen when children talk.
- Help children develop talents and skills through hobbies and helping with chores.
- Offer sincere words of praise and encouragement.
- Be an advocate for your child with teachers, relatives, religious leaders and other adults.
- Check out the organization, Dads and Daughters, for additional ways to encourage your child’s healthy development.
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009