How I Talk to My Kids About Healthy Living

Cat Wittman
Classroom Champions
4 min readApr 14, 2021


As the weather warms up here in the California Bay Area and we spend more and more time outdoors, my mind is on the Classroom Champions topic of Healthy Living. There is so much that goes into living a healthy lifestyle, and as adults a lot of it is so second nature that we don’t really think to have explicit conversations with our kids about it.

We want them to eat their veggies because we know it’s good for them.

We want them to run around outside because that’s what kids need (and that’s what we need when they’ve been cooped up all winter!) and we just know that.

We want them to avoid any substances that would cause damage to their developing brains and bodies.

What I love about focusing on healthy living during the month of April is that we have the opportunity and the framework to have those explicit conversations with kids about why all of those things are important. Even better, kids can hear about it from world-class athletes — the people who would know best!

Meryl Davis and Charlie White: Olympic gold medalists and Classroom Champions mentors

While April’s spotlight on healthy living provides a nice framework for these important conversations, this is definitely not the only time of year I talk with my kiddos about these things. I’m going to use an old, worn-out term here, so please bear with me — I truly do look for teachable moments, when I can have open, honest conversations about what it means to lead a healthy lifestyle, and how to do that even when it’s hard.

For example, my son is on a competitive soccer team for the first time ever this year. He LOVES it. He has had a taste of goal scoring and is now hungry for it.

He also loves Minecraft. Like, the kind of all-encompassing love that causes him to find any excuse to interject Minecraft into any conversation. He really, really loves it.

When he’s bored, his first instinct is to ask me to play Minecraft. That’s what he always wants to do. Now that I know he also has a strong desire to score many, many goals during soccer, I can use that to encourage him to make the healthier choice to get outside and practice kicking that ball. He can — in theory, even if not always in practice — make the responsible, and healthier decision to go outside and kick the ball around instead of staying glued to the screen building pixelated stone houses.

As any teacher or parent knows, though, sometimes our voices lose impact with our kids. Sometimes we really need another person to explain things in a way that will resonate with them. That’s one of the awesome things that Classroom Champions and Ask, Listen, Learn have partnered together to bring teachers and parents resources, like Mindful Minute videos about topics like sticking to goals even when it’s hard. Olympic hopeful Tiffeny Parker draws on her own personal experience with this topic to help kids see the positive impact of making the harder choices in order to reach our goals.

When my son isn’t quite hearing me, I can pull up Tiffeny’s video, let him hear it from her, and have a good conversation with him about what she said and how it relates to his life.

Little bursts of inspiration like this are great for anyone who needs help reinforcing the life skills they’re trying to help their kids develop. They also help to set the stage for important conversations about underage drinking and how alcohol affects the developing brain.

We can use the Mindful Minute video about peer pressure from Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer to frame conversations with our kids about the different types of peer pressure, the situations in which it might crop up, and ways to say no to negative peer pressure.

Ask, Listen, Learn also has a great series of animated videos that teach kids how alcohol affects their developing brains. They use a fact-based approach, teaching about the science around the issue, which I truly appreciate. It takes the emotion out of the conversation, and helps kids really understand why they should say no.

While my kids are a bit too young to watch the videos and understand them, I’ve watched them all and often refer to the content in a more age-appropriate way as we have these conversations at home. When I have a glass of wine with dinner, for example, I might talk about how it’s okay for me to drink wine because my brain is fully developed. I also ensure that I mention the fact that I make responsible decisions about my alcohol consumption so that I don’t hurt myself or anyone else.

These are some strategies I use for discussing responsible decision making with my own kids, but the resources from Ask, Listen, Learn are great for teachers (grades 4–6) as well. They even have some easy-to-use lesson plans and supplemental materials for teachers to use with their students.