When it comes to role models your children will have many, but the role models they will look up to most will be you. I believe there is no better role model for a child than a parent who lives a healthy, active lifestyle. We can educate our children about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle through school and in the media, but nothing beats witnessing a healthy life being lived.
I am often asked why I choose to put my health and wellbeing ahead of that of my children. I find this question disturbing on more than one level. Firstly if you do not look after and take care of yourself you are not much good to any body else. If you do not have your health how do you plan to be around for your children in the long term? How do you plan on keeping up with them when they become active? Secondly how do you want your children to live their lives? I am assuming you want them to lead healthy, active, fulfilling lives? Without leading by example how do you expect this to happen?
Leading by example does not mean being extreme, what it means is showing your children how to be healthy. Demonstrate good nutrition, involve them in meal preparation and explain why you are eating certain types of food. Re enforce the fact that healthy choices make you ‘feel’ better and are beneficial to your health.
When it comes to exercise and sport, don’t just enroll your child in a class and hope for the best. Enroll yourself in something you’re interested in so your children know fitness is a lifelong activity. Having your own sport or activity is leading by example. If Mum and Dad are active, this becomes the norm and your children are more likely to follow.
Never forget the importance of leading by example as a parent. Setting up your children’s views on health and fitness depend upon it.