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Have you ever noticed your child mimicking the things you do or say? Like when dad goes out to mow the lawn and your little one suddenly wants to take their toy lawn mower out for a spin, too! It’s because, as a parent, you are the primary role model in your children’s lives; they learn from you and, as they grow, they start to act like you. This means that you have a heightened responsibility to model the behavior that you want your kids to follow.

The pros over at Psychology Today have done a great job outlining ten ways you can become a healthy role model your child can emulate. One of the ways they say you can help your kids “build character and self-respect” is by “taking care of yourself.” This means learning how to live a healthy lifestyle that includes getting enough sleep, exercise, eating the right foods, and finding time to keep yourself happy. Here at Kodiak Cakes, our mission is to inspire healthier eating and active living. We know that learning how to eat healthy and be active starts at home, so we decided to ask three parents from our Kodiak family how they exemplify a healthy lifestyle for their growing children. Here’s what they had to say:

“My husband and I literally packed up and moved to Heber City, UT so we could better teach our family how to live a healthy lifestyle all year. We love to be outside, and the fun activities to do in Utah are endless. For example, we love to go on bike rides and walks together. When our daughter turned 18 months old, we bought her a balance bike, later followed by a tag-along, and now, at age four, she rides with us just about everywhere we go on a real bike without training wheels! Last year, we also put our daughter in ski lessons because it is another activity my husband and I love to do together to get outside and be active. While she still undergoes regular wipeouts on the ski hill–sometimes just to eat the snow–she is already looking forward to skiing this upcoming winter. Before we go skiing, I like to make a healthy hot chocolate that we can mix together at the lodge for a warm, sweet treat on a cold day. Making sure our daughter sees us choosing healthier options is important to us, which has helped us teach her to love foods like broccoli and our whole grain Kodiak Cakes pancakes!

– Sarah M.

"I was a high school athlete, and I wish that someone would have taught me more about nutrition. So, one method I use to encourage a healthy lifestyle with my kids is to always talk about it. Whenever we sit down for lunch before we're about to go do something fun, like going to the park, riding bikes, hiking, my kids only want to eat cheese sticks and applesauce. I have to tell them that if they neglect the protein and carbohydrates on their plate, their bodies won't have the energy they need to do all these fun activities. It sinks in, well, some of the time. We also try to include our children in the healthy activities that my wife and I love to do. Together, my wife and I love to run and participate in running events. We make sure to bring our kids along to all of our races so that they can see us out being active, too! Now, they talk about winning medals all the time."

- Steve C.

"We like to take our son outside to do the outdoorsy things we've always done! In the summertime, he’s learned to love camping and mountain biking. We also like him to feel involved in team sports like soccer and baseball so he can enjoy being active with his friends! We live in the mountains, where outdoor activities abound even in the wintertime. When the snow comes, our son loves to ski with his family and friends, and we’ve even taken him backcountry skiing in the mountains just behind our house. He sees us living a healthy lifestyle when we go running, mountain biking, and skiing with our friends and family and has grown up to want to do the same. Our son also knows that all these fun activities wouldn’t be as fun if he doesn’t eat the right foods for energy. In fact, just the other day his soccer coach asked him what he ate for breakfast because he was playing super hard in his game, and he responded, 'Kodiak Cakes Chocolate Chip Oatmeal!'”

– Sonja M.

Do you have a trick to helping your kids learn to live a healthy lifestyle? Share your tips about how you better lead by example in your home with us on Facebook and Instagram by tagging @kodiakcakes and using #kodiakcakes.

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