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Helping Your Child Make a Lifestyle Change

When our children are facing life changes, they often need help with motivation. There can be many reasons for this. Maybe their parent has changed or lost a job. Maybe the child doesn't like school that much anymore or they just don't feel like playing. Sometimes there is more going on at home and they don't feel the pull to participate.

Whatever the reason is, there are ways that you can help your child with a lifestyle change. We all know that we should never leave them in the hands of strangers. With so many distractions, it is easy for even the most responsible adults to do a poor job of raising children. Helping your child with a lifestyle change isn't hard, but it does require some work.

First, talk to your child about his or her ideas for making change. Is he or she suggesting taking a gardening class? Going for a counseling session? Joining a new church? Having someone do church activities for him or her?

Second, ask your child what he or she would like to get out of school. What things might interest them? If your child likes sports, might he or she want to play Little League? What hobbies might they like to do? These are all good questions that can lead to important answers.

Third, talk to your child about what he or she would like to accomplish in life. For example, if your child wants to start a nonprofit organization someday, tell him or her how that would help him or her. Maybe he or she wants to become a volunteer. These are all good questions to help your child with a lifestyle change.

Fourth, get your child involved. Let your child help you plan and do some of the work. This may mean planning a trip, joining a club, or learning a skill that will be beneficial to her or him. Your child can then feel as though he or she is really helping to make a difference in the world.

Fifth, consider getting your child involved in a favorite pastime. Perhaps your child would like to join his or her local basketball team. Or maybe he or she would rather learn to fly a helicopter. Either way, these types of activities might also help your child develop important social skills.

As you can see, lifestyle changes do not have to be a major change. They can consist of something simple, such as watching a video before bed. Or they might take on a more significant scale, such as leaving the house before sunset. No matter what lifestyle changes you decide to implement, remember to reward your child's success. Help your child to understand the importance of making these changes and how they will help him or her in the future. Also, remind your child of how enjoyable it will be to have these new habits.

It is also important to understand that children will need time to adjust to new routines. So make sure you give your child enough time to adapt. If he or she does not feel ready to make a lifestyle change, do not force it. This will only make your child resent you for forcing him or her to adapt. Instead, let him or her explore the possibilities until he or she is ready to make the transition.

Finally, it might even be helpful for you and your child to work on the idea together. This is especially helpful if one of you has a history of substance abuse or other problems. While it might seem easier to let them deal with these issues on their own, you could help your child by showing support and encouragement. Your child needs to know that you are supportive of any changes they might make. So it may be helpful to start your discussions by acknowledging the problems and potential problems that he or she may be experiencing.

Remember, this is not easy for either of you. But you can do this. As your child starts to make changes in his or her habits and preferences, be there to help support him or her. Once your lifestyle change begins to take effect, it will be important to continue to foster that support.

Helping your child make this lifestyle change doesn't have to be a frustrating experience. The two of you can work through this together. Don't forget that your child is just as capable of being a successful, happy adult as you are. Just be there for your child when he or she needs you, and let that support continues to grow. The two of you will both be healthier for it.