As a parent, you must care for your own health while teaching your children to make healthy choices. These small habits can have a huge impact on your child’s life, not to mention the planet. Of course, you might wonder how you’ll instill healthful, eco-friendly values to your children for life. For single parents, this might seem daunting.
Even as a single parent, you can have a remarkable impact on your child’s values, beliefs and future. Social science research shows that children raised by single mothers have more grit and sturdiness. Additionally, children often learn about life from their parents. They’ll repeat things you’ve said or behaviors you’ve taught them. Your efforts to teach them healthy lifestyle choices can have long-lasting results.
Here are some ways single parents can teach their children healthier habits:
Teaching your children about health is a massive undertaking. As a single parent, you’ve got much on your plate so remember: you don’t have to go it alone. You’ll have better success by getting other adults on the same page. For example, talk to other relatives, friends and babysitters about helping reinforce these skills. Sure, you can do it alone but it’s always easier when you have help from the other adults in your child’s life.
Children learn in different ways. While talking to them about healthy habits can be effective, it can be even better if you engage them with hands-on activities to help them understand. National Geographic reports that some elementary schools are now embracing this concept by teaching children how to garden, cook, and more. The children start by growing their own organic foods, such as fruits and vegetables, which they then turn into delicious meals for themselves and their classmates. The tasty foods offer intrinsic motivation for the children to learn (and continue) these healthy practices.
Growing your own foods
The same classroom learning techniques mentioned above can also be applied at home. For example, you might teach your children about eco-friendly, natural, organic gardening by letting them help plant and grow their very own garden. Besides being more environmentally friendly, organic foods have also been shown to be more nutritious. You might explain to your children why organic foods are a healthy choice and teach them about the dangers of pesticides, chemicals and processed food additives.
If your home has a yard (or if you know someone who might be willing to let you use their yard), you could help your child grow organic fruits and vegetables that could be used to create home-cooked meals. If you live in an apartment, condominium, or other home that doesn’t have a yard, don’t worry: You can still teach your children to grow an indoor garden. You might consider planting organic herbs, spices, seasonings and other plants that thrive indoors. This can be a rewarding experience for your child all year. Best of all, it’s a bonding experience for the two of you.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Rather than cleaning your home with harsh chemicals, you can make your own safe, all-natural household cleaners. Be sure to educate your children about how plastic harms our oceans and how chemicals and pesticides carry toxins that could be bad for their health.
Another fun project is to create arts and crafts out of the fabric from old clothes that your children have outgrown. A quick search on Pinterest or Google will provide plenty of inspiration for creative DIY craft projects that you can do with upcycled fabrics. Best of all, your children will likely cherish the opportunity to get creative with you.
By implementing healthier habits into your daily lifestyle, you’re not just investing in yourself, but for your children, too. A little effort to teach your children some healthy habits can translate into long-lasting, positive habits for the rest of their lives.
Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At DadSolo.com, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.