Fathers playing an active role in their children's lives, including their health and safety, can make a positive difference. According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), setting a good example is the most important way to teach children healthy behaviors.
Even if you don't share a home with your children, following healthy habits when you are together encourages them to do the same. Resources available on the NRFC website (www.fatherhood.gov) confirm that healthy fathers are more available to emotionally and financially support their children and families.
With fathers in mind, here are five wellness tips:
1. Psychological health ‒ Life can get complicated and overwhelming. So being a loving, involved father isn't always easy. If you are depressed, are abusing drugs, or have other issues that affect your emotional and mental health, they can cause problems between you and your children. There are many support and treatment options available to help you get past the barriers that could be holding you back from a better relationship with your children.
2. Physical health – Exercise regularly. Find an activity that you enjoy so you are more likely to maintain a routine. When planning your workouts, discuss them with your children. Explain your exercise routine and how they can join in too. Set realistic workout goals. Be sure to balance your workouts with proper sleep.
3. Dietary health – Eat healthy foods in moderate amounts. Drink water and snack on fruits and vegetables. Discuss your diet with your children. When in the grocery store, point out healthy choices. Read the labels on food items with your children and discuss nutrition information. You are what you eat, so be sure to encourage and model healthy eating habits for your children.
4. Social health ‒ How you conduct your adult relationships has a direct effect on your children. Studies show that people who enjoy healthy relationships have more happiness and less stress. If your relationships in the past were stormy or troubled, you can start now to undo attitudes and behaviors that might have contributed to an unsatisfying personal life. Dealing with past mistakes allows you to move forward by establishing positive, fulfilling relationships.
5. Interpersonal health ‒ Healthy interactions are often the most neglected component of well-being. Healthy relationships take time and effort. Look for ways to add laughter to your activities with your children. Make sure your children know and understand your values by living them every day. Focus on your successes and not what you consider to be your failures. Let your children know that it is OK to fail and that no matter what, you'll always love them.
(For more information, visit www.fatherhood.gov or call 877-4DAD411. Stay in touch with the NRFC on Facebook and Twitter.)