If you’re a homeschooling parent, you’re already aware that your kids are influenced by all of the decisions that you’ve made in your daily life. If you decide to take a day off, your kids take a day off. If you have an appointment in the middle of the day, their schedules are thrown out of whack right along with yours. And the meal decisions that you make on a daily basis affect your children every bit as much as they affect you. They have little to no exposure to other foods. If you eat healthy, they are likely eating healthy; and if you eat nothing but junk, they are likely eating nothing but junk.
That means that if your New Year’s resolution includes a massive diet plan, they’re going to be dieting right along with you. No more cookies for you? That means that you will be far less likely to bake them. No sweet treats? You’ll likely remove them from the house entirely in order to remove temptation—and that means that your kids can’t have them, either.
If you don’t want to be greeted by a chorus of whines on a daily basis—not to mention the trouble of a child trying to shake a sugar addiction—there’s a better way to look at it: make a family resolution that all of you can agree together to stick to. This might mean rethinking your brand new diet plans a little; but let’s face it, deprivation diets never really work, anyway. At best, they’re good for shaking the extra weight that you put on during the holidays and easing a bit of the guilt that you felt while you were overindulging.
Why not try it from a different perspective?
Put the focus on being healthy, not on what you can’t have. Make it an exciting new adventure as you choose recipes that each of you would like to try. Maybe your son really loves spicy food, or your daughter loves Asian cuisine. Check out healthy recipes from each of these categories, and let them help you prepare them. Get them excited about the meal choices that you’re making. Spend more time discussing new things that you can try or favorite healthy treats that you’ll be eating more of instead of waving forlornly to favorite treats that you can no longer have as you walk past them in the supermarket.
Your kids might actually surprise you with the ideas that they have and the things that they’re willing to try. Sure, there are bound to be a few “flops” in the bunch; but at least if you’re excited about it, you’re having fun instead of feeling deprived! In addition, getting the whole family involved means that you’re that much more likely to stay on track yourself—instead of sneaking in just one more cookie under the guise of taste testing the recipe before your kids finish them all.
Get active together. Take your kids for a walk around the block whenever the weather permits, or go spend an hour at the park—but don’t just sit on the bench. Chase them; climb after them; play games with them. You’ll all have a lot more fun and, as an added bonus, you’ll be more likely to keep doing it!
Make lifestyle changes, not temporary diet decisions. Dieting is, at its root, deprivation—and as long as you are dieting, you feel deprived. On the other hand, if you make lifestyle changes one at a time, you’ll be more likely to stick with them. Try whole grains instead of bleached white flour, or adding fruit to your diet instead of sweets. Look for lean protein options to keep you full during the day. Drink more water and less soda. Make changes one by one over time rather than all at once, and get your kids involved. There’s nothing quite so challenging as a child who knows you’re not supposed to be drinking that soda.
Join a class together. If your children are a little bit older, you may be able to join a yoga class, karate class, or other fitness class together. If you’re competitive, that nature will kick in and make you push yourself harder than you might alone. After all, who wants to see their ten-year-old doing better than they are at something?