Empowering a Healthy Lifestyle
Busy parents have enough to juggle, and Carlos Cotto, Executive Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics at the Rochester City School District, and his wife Shane find that letting their kids be responsible for making healthy choices is an easy way to help keep the whole family on the right track.
The Cotto family lives by a simple motto: “If we eat right and we exercise, then we’ll live longer,” Carlos explains. “There are a lot of things in life that we can’t control, but we can control what we eat to help us lead healthier lives.”
Carlos and Shane encourage healthy habits by making healthy food options available for their – 4-year-old son, Xavier, 9-year-old daughter, Ariyana and 17-year-old step daughter, Naomi . “We make it easy for the kids to eat healthy,” he explains. “All of the fruits and vegetables are in a place that’s easy for them to reach.”
Even when it comes to buying the food, Carlos’s family finds ways to incorporate healthy habits. “We have the kids help us bring the groceries in from the car because just going in and out of the house and up and down the stairs is an easy way to get active.”
Another way the family encourages healthy behavior is by praising the kids for making healthy choices on their own. Carlos knows that when his kids feel good about something, they’re more likely to do it often. “For example, my daughter will go out of her way to let me know she’s drinking water and not juice,” Carlos explains. “We find that it’s empowering when they are the ones choosing to make their own healthy decisions.”
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