I am not a doctor; just a mama basing this information off my own experiences as a mother, athlete, and prior research. Please consult your child’s doctor before proceeding with any of the following information!
Growing up in a healthy home that consisted of parents who made strong efforts to influence healthy habits in me, is a huge reason why I live the life that I do, today. As a little kid, exercising, eating healthfully, and taking care of my body became the new norm as my parents began their journey in CrossFit and brought me alongside them (me being about 7 years old, at the time).
While, my postpartum journey began at not the healthiest state (it turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it was going to be), one of the main reasons I was able to find my way into the lifestyle and mindset I have now, was because of the healthy habits my parents instilled inside of me as a kid.
For that exact reason, I have chosen to begin instilling similar healthy habits into my son from the very beginning. I’m talking, as early as his baby years. It has been clear to me that pursuing these habits is one of the most important tools that I could teach him.
However, while this is so, very, important, this is also something I see fellow mamas struggling with every day! Balancing your health and fitness, while trying to make sure your toddler eats his green beans can be a heck of a lot more stressful than we show. Yet, it doesn’t have to be! Fostering healthy habits into your littles ones CAN be simple and doesn’t have to be overlooked due to stress.
In this post, you will find 3 different strategies to begin helping your child(ren) develop healthy habits to rely on as they get older. While most of these tips can be used to promote a healthy lifestyle in older kids, these tips are specified for babies and toddlers. Starting to implement them as early as possible, is truly, the easiest way to go!
1. Food Choices
Some kids, even babies, are picky eaters; I know! However, the best way to prevent your picky eater from picking that he doesn’t like healthy food is providing him with a healthy variety from the beginning. So, if your baby is just beginning solids, try to include as much variety as possible, in a whole-food form.
Going more into what you feed them…
This can also be helpful as they grow into their toddler years. Using the technique of feeding them off your plate (similar to Baby Led Weaning but doesn’t have to be just for that reason), promotes variety and introduction to both the baby age and picky toddler age. Also, specifically for toddlers, feeding them off your plate gets them excited and more likely to try whatever you are giving them. The whole, “I have chicken on my plate but want mama’s chicken instead”…”Why?”…”Cause it’s Mama’s, DUH!” thing. You know what I’m talking about!
Ann, from the Keeper of The Home blog, wrote a great article on this. Very insightful and I highly suggest checking it out!
While it is important to make the effort of introducing a variety of healthy foods early on in your little’s life, It’s also important to not get so caught up in the details. Just like us, they have their likes and dislikes too. Let me ask you this; can you force someone to like something? NO! Same goes for the littles. It can be frustrating when they don’t eat what you spent time preparing and, instead, feed it to the dog. Try your best to be flexible and remember that you probs aren’t the biggest fan of cauliflower either!
2. Physical Activity
This one is simple but takes effort from you to lead by example. Toddlers are already so active, but did you know that you can begin teaching them the importance of exercising and promote a healthy relationship with exercise at such an early age? IT’S TRUE! This is the prime time to start imprinting a fun perception around exercise.
Here’s a few ways on how to do this:
- Begin including your baby into your workouts as early as possible. Babywearing, floor workouts, or workouts involving holding/lifting them are a great way to do this. This will acclimate them to movement and they will begin to grow up around the idea of exercise being a part of their routine.
- Turn on fun music, incorporate your toddler into your workout. Explain to him what you are doing and cheer them on (chances are, they will try whatever you are doing). Remember to be flexible and that you may become a human jungle gym. That’s okay. Roll with it and have fun.
- Play workout games with your toddler.
I have recently opened the sign-ups to participate in my online, Strong Mom 1-Day Workshop where I will teach you ALL of my strategies to incorporating your baby or toddler into your workouts in fun and interactive ways. Since you are reading this post, I think this would be perfect for you, Mama! You can sign up here.
Lastly, creating conversation around healthy habits is such a helpful tool when it comes to young kiddos! THIS CAN BE DONE DURING BABY YEARS TOO! Yes, I said it! Although, your baby will not respond back to you, starting to talk to them about this will introduce them to what should be the norm and get you in the habit of doing this as they get older.
Here’s a couple examples of what I mean:
- Sitting down at the dinner table, “This chicken is going to make us feel great!”
- Toddler offer’s you a cookie, “I don’t want to eat that because it will make mommy’s tummy hurt”. (Notice the non-restrictive language used. I don’t say, “Put that cookie down! It’s bad for you!” Instead, I talk about how it will make me feel and in return, it will encourage my little to do the same. Yes, there’s a time and a place to simply say, “no”. But there’s also a place for re-directive encouragement.)
- You say to your baby or toddler, “Come on! Let’s go workout”, in a happy and excited voice.
I have some exciting news! If you struggle with feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and exhausted when it comes to working out and eating healthy, or struggle to balance a fitness routine and your busy schedule at the same time, I’m going to be honest, you’re probably not seeing great results…
The good news is,
is that my 6-Week Love Your Healthy Life; Transformation Program for moms will help you develop a healthy workout and eating routine that fits YOUR lifestyle, will give you all of the tools to effectively listen to your mombod in order to see the best results, deliver 6 weeks of functional, mama-specialized workouts and alternative workout ideas to do with your baby/toddler, and teach you how to eat according to your body and your situation. The Love Your Healthy Life Program was created to help you achieve (and share with your littles) a truly healthy lifestyle that you love and wake up every day at peace with.