Teaching your kids to make healthy choices

As a parent, you are one of your children’s most important role models and their best source of support for achieving a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tips to help set them on the right track for a fit body and mind.

Demonstrate how to manage stress in a healthy way. Whether it’s a hard day at the office or a rough time at school, adults and kids both deal with everyday stresses. That’s why it’s so important to show your kids positive ways to decompress, like going for a walk, practicing mindful meditation or participating in a team sport or creative activity.

Take advantage of teachable moments. Little moments can add up to big lessons, so use them to share some spontaneous wisdom that doesn’t feel like a lecture. If you’re cooking together, use it as an opportunity to teach your kids about nutritious choices for healthier meals, like when swapping quinoa for white rice or white milk for chocolate milk.

Start up a dialogue. You want your kids to come to you when they’re worried about something or run into trouble, or even if it’s just to ask your opinion on a topic that’s important to them. Encourage them to approach you with their questions by staying calm and relaxed, keeping a positive attitude and putting yourself in their shoes. It might be helpful to think about how you felt when you were a child or teenager.

Talk to them about drugs. Between illegal drugs and prescription medications, it may be hard to know where or how to start. But as studies show, teenagers are often not aware of the health risks of drugs such as cannabis. As a trusted source of information, you can start having conversations early with your children, even before they reach their teen years, about cannabis use and its health and safety risks. Learn the facts and share them in an honest and balanced way, while practicing active listening to keep the conversation open and ongoing. Drug Free Canada’s Cannabis Talk Kit can help you start a discussion with your kids. More information on the health effects of cannabis is also available at canada.ca/cannabis.