13 Life Lessons All Parents Should Teach Their Kids
Forget the Mom guilt—these basic health, nutrition, fitness, and happiness 101s are easy to impart to your family. In fact, you’ve probably ingrained most of them already! But it never hurts to reflect on how well your kids are hearing—and adhering to—these life lessons, and see if it might be time for a refresh
1. Eat your Wheaties.
Or another healthy breakfast—the meal is a no-brainer for power days at school and better health down the road.
Landmark studies link even the simplest morning meal (a bowl of cereal, a splash of milk, a few banana slices) with better attention spans, sharper fact recall, and happier moods for kids. Newer research links morning eating with less obesity, stronger bones, and healthier teeth. Yet kids are dropping out of the healthy breakfast club at an alarming rate: Although 95 percent of elementary school kids (and 87 percent of teens) ate breakfasts in 1965, fewer than 86 percent (and fewer than 70 percent of teens) do so today. The reason: rushed mornings and busy families. You can eat a bowl of instant oatmeal and fruit in less than five minutes—so set the clock a few minutes earlier and make sure your children eat up at home before school.
2. It’s OK to worry.
The frontal lobe—the part of the brain that handles planning, attention, concentration and reasoning—isn’t fully developed until late adolescence or early adulthood, says Michele Thorne, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Indiana University School of Medicine. “It’s basically like the main onboard computer that directs how an individual makes decisions isn’t fully programmed in children and teens,” she says. Check in with your kids frequently about whatever may be going on—whether it’s West Nile virus fears or concerns about you or your partner losing a job—to see how they’re feeling, and explain how your family is dealing with it.