Kids and Health

I’ve been struggling lately with the “right” way to help my kids make healthy choices.  Especially my 12 and 15 year old girls.

Growing up I was taught some unhealthy eating habits by people who meant well (that’s another post).  Coupled with my natural tendencies I’ve never had a healthy relationship with food.

Of course most parents want better for their kids.  So I set out with that in mind.

I don’t use food as a comfort item.  As in, don’t distract them with a cookie after they skin their knee.

I don’t use food as a reward.  Oh, wait.  I do that.  Sometimes. Not on purpose, but yes I do.  The dentist office has a McDonalds close by with a play center.  So where do we go after the dentist?  And if we need shots?  Ice cream as a treat afterwards.

But I try, I really do.  I imagine you do as well.  I encourage them to eat healthy.  I don’t keep sweets from them but don’t always have them around (to their dismay).  I don’t talk about fat/skinny.  I talk about being healthy.

Lately I’ve been noticing some bad habits, especially with the older girls who are a bit more independent.  So the struggle continues.  How do you teach your kids to make healthy choices, without putting too much emphasis on food?

My husband and I decided to have the older girls do the Challenge with us.  My oldest is 15 and old enough to join the whole group.  So she can check up with the Challenge Facebook group, and with a friend or two also participating.  My 12 year olds are not in the large group, but are doing it at home.

To up the ante and give motivation, we’ve established cash rewards for the girls and myself.  An at-home challenge of our own, if you will.

The prizes are:  $100 for first, $50 for second, $30 for third, and $10 for fourth.  We gave a prize for last so no one would just give up if they were running last.

Those are fairly high dollar amounts, but I was pretty certain if I worked hard I could take the first prize.

Uhm….they are kicking my butt!!

My twelve year olds each had a perfect week last week!!!  If you’re doing the Challenge with us be thankful they aren’t in the big group! My 15 year old is a close second.  If I’m not careful I will be LAST!

I am quite amazed.  Two girls had praise team practice this morning.  I asked them if they needed breakfast or had it provided at practice.  They said they would eat at home because they were having donuts there.

What?!?  You’re skipping donuts?!?  Wow.

I went shopping with my eldest a couple nights ago.  Of course when you’re shopping it’s hard to eat supper before 8.  At least for us.  So we lost those points.  Not wanting to lose more points she jumped on the treadmill when we got home at 9:30 pm.  Wow.

I don’t imagine they can keep this up for all 6 weeks.  Honestly, I don’t want them to. I don’t want them to burn out.  We’re striving for a healthy lifestyle. Lifelong habits. Perfection is not attainable day after day even in one area of life.  I want them to make good choices.  Like my oldest deciding to forgo sugar points for a piece of Daddy’s birthday cake.  A conscious decision.  And she enjoyed every bite.

But I’m so very proud of them.  And it is my prayer that many of these habits will stick.

Would love your feedback or ideas on how to hand down health to the next generation.