Friday, May 3

5 Tips to Encourage Healthy Habits in Children

This post is sponsored by Burt's Bees Toothpaste
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            Hi loves! Thanks so much for visiting today.

     I’ve been getting an extra influx of parenting questions lately (which I love) and this post is hopefully going to answer a bunch of those all in one go! Being a mom is my favorite thing in the world, and sharing pieces of my motherhood journey here with you guys in all it’s big full chaotic goofy messy glory is really rewarding and inspirational for me, and I appreciate your support and feedback and friendship more than I can say. 

     So today I’m writing directly to you parents who have expressed a lack of inspiration or motivation when it comes to encouraging your children towards healthier habits and activities.

     I’m also happy to share that this post is in partnership with Burt’s Bees, who recently launched their new line of toothpaste! I’ve relied on and trusted products from Burt’s Bees since long before I started having children, so I was excited about trying this new daily staple for myself, and it’s become just that! I'd never been happy with the simpler ingredient options before, so we mostly thought we were out of luck and didn't put much thought into it. It took a company that I've loved and trusted for nearly 15 years to help us easily make the jump towards the best possible oral care for us and the kids, and we're pretty happy about it. I knew right away that I'd love it and the kids are more excited about brushing their teeth than ever! Lydia and Evie love the great fruity flavor in the kids' formula - it makes them want to brush! Alice will definitely be using the toothpaste as well once she hits the 2-year mark!

They have three formulas for adults that focus each on whitening, enamel care, and freshness. They also have two kids formulas - both adults and kids have fluoride and fluoride-free options giving you the freedom to choose! 

In True Burt's Bees fashion, their toothpaste is made with simple and effective ingredients that really work, and without any artificial flavors, sweeteners, plastic microbeads, etc. Everything you want in your toothpaster and nothing that you don't:) It's available now at Target so be sure to check it out for you and your family!

5 Tips to Encourage Healthy Habits in Children

#1: Teach by example.
I don’t know about all children of course, but my kids (and most others I know) love to be wherever their parents are, ‘helping’ with whatever they’re doing at all hours of the day. Utilizing this excitement to be with you is why this is my number one tip, because, in order to show your children what making healthy choices looks like, you have to make healthier choices. Win-win! You’re becoming your best and making better health-conscious decisions for yourself in order to be that role model for your children, and it really pays off big time.
I’ve gained a love and a passion for exercise and healthier eating and meditation, etc, because I have felt the difference in my day-to-day as a mom of so many little ones, but I also really have to stay active constantly in order to take care of them all well. Our lives will change when we’re teaching our children how to do a jumping jack or how to choose ripe fruit, and don’t forget to call them over whenever you can to include them in your health and fitness choices. For instance, let them help you cook and talk about the ingredients and what they do for your body. Always let them know when you’re going to the gym or out for a run and explain what you’ll be doing and how it’s good for your body. Let them join you whenever possible! They love asking questions and they love learning, and they love copying and finding out ways that they’re just like you:)

#2: Treat self-care as a privilege and not a chore.
       Something that I’ve always felt was important is to never make personal chores into something negative. I didn’t want them to associate things like saying their affirmations or brushing their teeth with work that they wanted to avoid, so while it can be a fine line, try to never send them off to brush their teeth (for instance) with a stern voice or an upset tone, but instead always try to keep it positive. If you have chore charts, maybe consider not having consequences for unfinished chores, but lots of extra positive reinforcement for chores completed. Brushing our teeth in particular is something that everyone associates as a fun and happy activity around here, partly because we always turn it into a group experience with lots of jokes and giggling, partly because we always have a happy and encouraging attitude around it, and partly because they have fun toothbrushes and yummy toothpaste from Burt’s Bees! Haha 
#3: Have the Good - Better - Best conversation often.
       One approach we’ve taken from the beginning with the kids is teaching them about moderation and what I’ve called the Good-Better-Best method, instead of teaching them that certain foods being all bad or all good for you. And they’re learning! It’s really important to me that my kids have a healthy relationship to food, and that they are never scared of any food to the point of feeling guilty about eating it. I want them to think of food as fuel for their bodies, and that what they put into their bodies effects how their bodies will work (like putting the wrong fuel into a car), but we also love teaching them that food is delicious and fun to make and experiment with and that it makes life wonderful! So instead of teaching them that foods like candy and soda and doughnuts are bad for them, we just teach them that there are many other options that are better. 
Pulling tip #1 into this, teaching them by example is so powerful here too. Let them see you making the little decisions every day, like deciding to make a smoothie instead of pulling out the ice cream, and explain to them that ice cream isn’t horrible and bad for you so much as the smoothie is just better for your body. Give them little quizzes to help them think about it and tell you what is a better choice over something.  

#4: Limit electronic/screen use.
       This can be a pretty personal thing and everyone has different rules and needs for electronics in their home, so I won’t go into rules or absolutes too much. I will say though that I believe keeping electronic use to a minimum with children especially (adults too, but we’re talking kids right now) keeps their minds sharper and more creative, and makes for happier, healthier kids overall. We do have some educational games on the iPad and some that are purely just for fun that the kids take turns playing here and there and I definitely see the benefit in occasional use, but we keep it super minimal. 
       As for TV use, we always had our family TV right in the living room up until about 2015 when we moved into our last house in Idaho when we had 5 kids in five years. I realized how much I was running the TV throughout the day as a babysitter, and when we moved across town and inherited my grandpa's big old farmhouse table from my parents, I decided that we’d not even put a TV on the main floor at all and instead we schedule special family movie night once in a while instead. The result was a massive surge of outside play and curiosity and sweet interaction with and creativity in all of the children. We also decided to get rid of all their toys not long after (and that’s a whole other post for another time), but without the TV and other electronics freezing them in their tracks and turning them into zombies, they started reading like crazy and coloring on that big old table every chance they could get, and their little minds have done amazing things in al that time! Remember, TV and electronics aren’t bad by any means (and as we work online we do try to teach how good they can be:)), but yes, there are better things to be doing much of the time! :)

#5: Incorporate healthy choices into your daily routine, and have fun!
       Overall we have pretty consistent days around here, but things are always kinda flexible at the same time. For the things that we try to always accomplish or get done though as a family, I want my kids to see that those are things that are good for our bodies and our minds. Those things that we make sure and do every single day (or as close as we can get it) are the things that are going to keep us strong and healthy in body and mind and heart. I challenge you to take a minute and write down staples in your day as a family. Your list might include things like ‘wake up early, eat breakfast together, wash face, brush teeth, go for an afternoon walk, have family prayer,’ etc etc. For just about everything on my list I can count on these three little tots hanging on my legs for.haha But my point is that no matter what your day might look like, I encourage you to write next to it if it’s good for your mind or for your body or for your heart/soul, even if it’s in a roundabout way. Then I want you to share that with your kids over the next week! Try to include at least one thing (if not many things) for each category into your every day, and then when you’re eating breakfast together, talk about what you’re eating and how it’s important for your bodies. When you’re brushing their hair, talk about how the vitamins in the fruit they ate help their hair grow shiny and long, and how the sunshine that put those little freckles on their faces. When you’re on a little walk after school, tell them about the different muscles and bones they’re using to climb, and on and on. It might sound like a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding to whittle down the staples in our day to be beneficial in some way, and talking about the reasoning behind it all will come more naturally than you think.
     Well, that’s it for now, and if you have a minute I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to share any thoughts you have or favorite tips for integrating healthier choices with your family, and if you’ve tried the new Burt’s Bees toothpaste please let us know what you think! You can get it all over, but I buy ours from Target - and I highly recommend :)

     Take care loves,

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  1. As expectime first time mom, I am trying to limit my "Mom advises" beause there's so many unhealthy and unwise things written around the net. Instead I'm focusing on thinking about a long-term approach for educating my kids in future. I always read your parenting advises, simply because they are practical, conscious and not too much in your face. Plus you have so many little ones, I completely trust your judgement �� About this current article - I couldn't agree more, especially tip no.1 �� I just hope I'll be the best mom I can be ☺️☺️
    Thanks for sharing and keep them coming!

  2. I would love to hear your reasons for getting rid of toys! :) -Grace

  3. Please make a post about getting rid of toys!! So interested. Love your post and your family, awesome tips. ❤️❤️❤️❤️