By Gwen Payne


Raising healthy kids as a single parent isn’t just about the here and now. If you want your kids to maintain their health and well-being as they venture out into the world, you must teach them how to make healthy decisions on their own. Kids who learn how to make healthy choices from a young age are more likely to eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and avoid engaging in risk-taking behaviors. In this article presented by Sparc Hope, we’ll discuss a few things you can do as a parent to raise healthy little decision-makers!


Demonstrate the Value of Education


Education holds a lot of value for kids, but it can be hard for them to see it. When kids remain engaged in school, strive to succeed academically, and desire to pursue post-secondary education, they’re less likely to engage in risky behaviors. At the same time, education helps kids learn how to think critically, which can help them make smarter health decisions.


Modeling the value of education can encourage your children to establish academic goals and chase their career dreams. It’s never too late to go back to school! Set a good example for your kids by seeking higher education for yourself. With so many online degree options available, you can advance your education without taking time off from your other responsibilities. For example, you could earn your Bachelor of Science in Education online and open the door to rewarding teaching jobs!


Encourage Your Kids to Explore their Spirituality


If you consider yourself religious, you’ve probably given a lot of thought to your child’s spirituality and how you plan to pass down your beliefs. This can be tough terrain to navigate. The good news is that you don’t have to have it all mapped out! Incorporating elements of spirituality into your children’s development can be highly beneficial to them, regardless of how you structure it.


Parenting suggests focusing on the values and lessons that your religion can teach. For example, you can use spirituality to help your kids develop a deeper level of trust, have respect for nature, and overcome discomfort.


Model Self-Control


Self-control is an important element of making healthy choices. Kids are inherently impulsive. It can be hard for them to resist temptation, deal with frustration, or handle disappointment. Teaching self-control skills is one of the most important things you can do to help your kids avoid acting on impulse as they grow up.


Again, this is where you can have a big impact by setting a good example for your children. Children learn how to regulate their emotions by watching their parents. Work on improving your own distress tolerance so you can model good self-control behaviors around your children.


Foster a Strong Relationship with Your Children


Nurturing strong family relationships is another way to set the stage for healthy decision-making. Children who have a healthy relationship with their parents are better at regulating their emotions, perform better academically, and are more likely to develop positive relationships with others. Ultimately, this will steer your kids away from unhealthy behaviors and encourage them to make choices that set them up for success as adults! Some easy ways to strengthen the relationship with your child include expressing unconditional love, giving them your undivided attention, validating their feelings, and eating meals together.


All parents want their children to make the right choices. We want them to choose vegetables over cake, exercise over watching TV, and academics over risky behaviors. While you can’t control every decision your child makes, you can set them up with the skills they need to make these healthy choices on their own!


For more great tips, articles, and resources, be sure to explore the other content offered by Sparc Hope – Single Parent Resource Center.