In our celebrity-obsessed culture, you may feel like pop stars and major-league athletes have the biggest influence on your children.
But don’t discount your importance in your child’s life. Even if your child dreams of being the next Beyonce, Josh Hamilton or Hope Solo, who do most children cite as their biggest role model and inspiration? Their parents!
This is obvious with small kids, who like to be just like mommy and daddy, and love to play house and help with the dishes and household chores. But it’s also true with teens and tweens. Parents can have a huge influence on how their child thinks and behaves, so it’s important to always be thinking of how to set a good example.
And that’s especially true at the dinner table. Ever hear “you are what you eat”? For children, it’s also, “you are what your parents eat.” Here are ways to help your children develop healthier habits.
- Fill your plate up with vegetables and fruit, and encourage your child to try the same nutritious foods.
- Reward your children periodically with going out to eat at their favorite restaurant, but try to eat most meals at your dinner table.
- When at the dinner table turn off your TV and your phone. Enjoy each other’s company.
- Prepare a dessert that features fruit; limit ice cream, cake or cookies to occasional treats only.
- Try new foods as a family such a spaghetti squash. Examine the food before and after you cook it, and talk about the new experience.
- Have dinners with themes, such as a dinner where all the food is round or a night in Italy with all Italian foods.
Don’t forget you are your children’s biggest role model, so set a good example of healthy eating.