Show your kids how to eat and act: Let them follow your good example. Be your best self: your kids follow their role models

Show your kids how to eat and act: Let them follow your good example. Be your best self: your kids follow their role models

Parents play a crucial role in shaping the habits and behaviors of their children. Among these, promoting physical activity and healthy nutrition are of paramount importance. In today's fast-paced world, where sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits are too common, parents can serve as powerful role models to guide their children towards a healthier and more active life. Your actions and choices can positively impact your children's lives.

1. Leading by example:

Kids often imitate their parents' behaviors and choices (good or bad), and this includes how they approach physical activity and nutrition. When parents prioritize their health and well-being, it sends a clear message to their children that these aspects of their lives are important. Engaging in regular exercise, making nutritious food choices, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle not only benefit parents but also set a standard for their children to follow.

2. Family activities:

Parents can encourage physical activity by making it a family affair. Activities like biking, hiking, swimming, or playing sports together can create a positive association with exercise. Family outings that involve physical activity not only promote health but also strengthen family bonds. This shared experience can instill a love for physical activity in children and make it a part of their routine.

3. Mealtime habits:

Parents can also influence their children's eating habits by setting a positive example during mealtime. Regular family meals offer an opportunity to model healthy eating behaviors. When parents prioritize fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, their children are more likely to adopt similar choices. Additionally, parents can involve their children in meal preparation, teaching them about nutrition and the importance of balanced meals.

4. Educating about nutrition:

Parents can take the time to educate their children about the nutritional value of different foods. Explaining why certain foods are beneficial for health and why others should be consumed in moderation can help children make informed choices. Teaching them to read food labels and understand the ingredients in processed foods can empower them to make healthier decisions when they're on their own.

5. Limiting junk food and sugary drinks:

Parents can limit the availability of junk food and sugary drinks / foods at home. When these items are readily accessible, children are more likely to consume them. Instead, parents can stock the pantry and refrigerator with healthier options, making it easier for their children to choose nutritious snacks. This approach helps instill good habits and reduces the temptation of unhealthy choices. To help, we have a series of videos on thoughtful grocery shopping.

6. Encouraging outdoor play:

In today's digital age, children are often glued to screens, which can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Parents can motivate their children to spend more time outdoors by creating a stimulating outdoor environment. Playgrounds, parks, and backyard playsets can provide opportunities for fun physical activity, imagination, and social interaction. By encouraging outdoor play, parents can help their children stay active and develop important physical skills.

7. Positive reinforcement:

Parents can use positive reinforcement to encourage healthy habits. Praising children for making good food choices or being physically active can boost their self-esteem and motivation. Rewards can also be used, but they should be non-food rewards to avoid associating treats with healthy behaviors.

8. Being mindful of body Image and self-esteem:

Parents must be mindful of the way they talk about their own bodies and the bodies of others. Negative body image comments or weight-related discussions can impact a child's self-esteem and body image, risking eating disorders as well. Encouraging a positive self-image and emphasizing the importance of health over appearance is crucial.

9. Open communication:

Effective communication is key to helping children understand the importance of physical activity and healthy nutrition. Parents should engage in open and age-appropriate discussions about why these habits matter. Addressing questions and concerns in an understanding and non-judgmental manner can help children make informed choices.


Parents serve as the most influential role models for their children, and this influence extends to physical activity and healthy nutrition. By leading by example, involving their children in active family activities, and promoting nutritious eating habits, parents can positively impact their children's lives. Teaching children about nutrition, limiting junk food, and encouraging outdoor play are all ways in which parents can instill lifelong healthy habits. It is through these actions that parents can empower their children to make choices that promote their overall well-being and set them on a path to a healthier, happier future. The role of parents in shaping the physical and nutritional habits of their children cannot be underestimated, and the positive impact can last a lifetime.

Sources and resources


University of Missouri


Nutrition4Kids grocery videos