Children are born with no personality traits. They gradually acquire certain habits from their parents and society. This is regardless of whether the habits are right of wrong. Parents determine the traits that the children will have. Therefore, it is critical for parents to ensure that children develop those habits that they deem as right. This is because the habits will ultimately affect their life and health in the future. Children develop most habits mainly through observation. They try to copy the habits of their parents or people who have constant contact with.
Parents would do anything that would guarantee the wellbeing of their children. One of the most critical traits that parents should help develop in the child is obedience. Obedience would ensure that the child does not contradict the parent (Sheen, 2009). Therefore, obedience helps parents encourage children to development traits that they deem as favorable. However, parents should not just use obedience to encourage children to develop favorable personal traits. They should be role models of children by possessing personality traits that encourage the development in children. Their actions should not contradict what they tell their children. This is because children develop most of the personal traits through observation. Therefore, being a role model to the children is one of the easiest methods of propagating the development of good personal traits in children. One of the habits that parents should develop in their children is healthy eating habits. Generally, most parents are knowledgeable on how they should bring up their children. Most parents realize the importance of healthy eating habits in the wellbeing of the child. However, most parents do not know the exact steps they should take to develop healthy eating habits in their children. This necessitates relevant parties to teach the parents how to develop healthy eating habits.
Importance of Healthy Eating Habits in Children
Children’s eating habits often persist into their adult life. This necessitates adults to propagate the development of healthy eating habits in the children. However, unless healthy foods are delicious and convenient, children may detest the food. Therefore, it is critical for parents to make eating healthy food fun to the children. Helping children to develop healthy eating habits would tremendously help them not suffer from diet related illnesses in their adult life. In the short run, healthy eating habits enable the children to look good, whereas, in the long run, healthy eating habits help their bodies have energy systems, which nurture their future bodies, motivation, emotions and intellectual ability (Graci, 2005). Some of the future illnesses that parents prevent by encouraging their children to engage in healthy eating habits include heart diseases and cancer.
Healthy eating habits enable children avoid becoming obese, which is a source of various physical and emotional problems. Children who are obese during their childhood are more likely to suffer from obesity during adulthood. However, obesity does not just expose children to various health problems in the future, health problems start developing during childhood. Obese children are more likely to suffer from asthma, diabetes, and musculoskeletal disease. Musculoskeletal disease makes it painful for children to engage in exercises. Lack of exercises makes it difficult for the child to regain normal weight and leads to other health problems. In addition, obesity reduces the self-esteem of the child. This may affect the social and psychological development of the child, which are essential in future adult life of the child. However, a child does not become obese overnight. Obesity usually involves a series of activities, some of which parents may ignore. It is easy for a child to become obese. However, it is very difficult for an individual to return to normal. Weight reduction requires so much dedication from the individual. Therefore, it is very important for parents to ensure that their children do not become obese, as reversing the weight gain is very difficult.
It is critical for children and their families to have healthy eating habits. Usually children benefit more by having small meals frequently. Therefore, parents should encourage children to eat, while sitting at the dining table without being distracted by other activities such as television or playing. Parents should use mealtime to bond with their children (Dunlap, 2004). They should encourage their children to develop healthy eating habits and enjoy whatever they are eating during mealtime.
To encourage healthy habits in children parents and caregivers should be extremely observant on the children to notice any form of restlessness. Restlessness may be a sign that the child has certain nutritional needs that are not met. Parents should ensure that they do not use food to reward children for desired behavior. This is because, this practice may encourage children to eat excessively or eating, when they are not hungry (Dunlap, 2004). Parents and caregivers should encourage children to eat only when they are hungry.
In most instances, children are hesitant to try new foods. They eat a limited number of foods; only the foods they like. Parents should encourage children to try out new foods by avoiding preparing children special meals. They should give children small portions of foods they dislike and large portions of the food the like (Weight Watchers, 2010). This will help children become accustomed to the new foods slowly. However, adults should desist from emphasizing how foods that children detest are delicious. This may breed distrust of the children on the adults. Adults should also desist from using fear-inducing stories to encourage children to eat. Adults should not tell stories of how children in other places are starving to encourage the children to eat (Dunlap, 2004). This is because it is hard for children to grasp this concept. Therefore, such rhetoric is simply a waste of time; it does not serve its purpose.
Parents should also encourage children to eat what they have been served before requesting for more. Adults should desist from requiring children to remain at the dining table until they have completely finished their food. This is because this practice may encourage children to eat, when they are not hungry (Dunlap, 2004). However, adults should ensure that children do not intentionally take small portions of food that does not fulfill their nutritional needs.
Adolescents are the group that is at the greatest risk of developing unhealthy eating habits. Most adolescents skip meals; consume junk food, fast food, and diet (mainly females). This necessitates parents and caregivers to make nutritional meals closely available to the adolescents, since they grab food that is near them (Dunlap, 2004). Adolescence may lead to the development of eating habits that ultimately affect the health of the individuals, when they become adults. However, adolescents who engage in sports tend to have healthy eating habits.
Mass media, especially television, affect people’s lifestyle significantly. Advertisements determine the buying preferences that people have. Advertisements affect mainly children. Various companies have food advertisements that target children. However, the majority of the companies advertise junk food, which has no health benefit on the children. These advertisements encourage children to eat junk food, which harm their health (Dunlap, 2004). This necessitates the government to formulate regulations that would limit the number of advertisements that companies have on junk foods. Most companies that sell junk food, target their advertisements to coincide with the time, when children are at home. Despite raking in profits that helps in building the economy, these companies lead to the deterioration of the healthcare of a large number of people. Therefore, their activities should be regulated.
Obesity is one of the serious health problems that America faces. 34% of the U.S. adult population is obese, whereas 17% of children and teenagers are obese (Alcena, 2011). Obese people are at risk of suffering from various ailments. These ailments put undue pressure on the U.S. healthcare system. Therefore, adhering to the above strategies would help in reducing the percentage of children who are obese. These children would have healthy eating habits, when they grow up. This would ultimately lead to the creation of a population that has healthy eating habits.