The world is full of temptations that can create bad habits. From the many telly programmes to all the different flavours of crisps, sometimes ensuring your children grow up with healthy habits can seem daunting. Here are seven tips for creating healthy habits within your kids, so you can confidently send them off into adulthood.
Small children love to run around and play. Staying active is an important behaviour to encourage in kids because it’s something that’ll impact their habits for the rest of their lives. Kids who are active maintain better physical health, have better overall moods, and are more likely to feel motivated about all their activities. Even though school and other commitments get in the way as kids grow up, a healthy love of physical activity will serve your child well.
Encourage Good Oral Hygiene
The set of teeth your child brings into adulthood needs to last for a lifetime. Ensure you are demonstrating good oral hygiene to them – if your kids see you brushing and flossing correctly, they’ll imitate the behaviour. You can start taking them with you to the dentist as early as age 1, to demonstrate the importance of regular visits. NHS dentistry is free children up to the age of 18. Search online for a local NHS dentist that will accept new patients using sites like Toothpick.com, and make sure you brush up on dentistry advice for parents regularly as your kids are growing up.
Make Healthy Eating Fun
With all the sugary snacks available, encouraging children to eat healthy foods and make healthy choices can be tough on parents. But if kids develop good eating habits at a young age, they’re more likely to carry those habits into adulthood. Start by letting them choose what healthy foods they would like to eat. Then involve them in the shopping, planning, and cooking processes for a fun and rewarding experience.
Limit Screen Time
The telly, computer, and video games are tempting ways for children to spend their leisure time. But getting kids away from the screen is one great way to keep them physically active or encourage them to pursue hobbies like music, art, or pets. Instead of taking away the screens entirely, create a telly watching schedule so kids don’t automatically turn to programmes in times of boredom. Devices like the Amazon Kindle allow you to set time limits on game playing, encouraging kids to use the device for reading instead.
As any adult who’s lost an afternoon to a good book knows, reading provides enrichment, entertainment, and escape. A love of reading is a fantastic habit to instil in your children, and will ensure they appreciate learning and storytelling from a young age. Since reading in school is likely associated with work, reading at home should be a fun activity. When kids are young, read to them and encourage them to turn the pages or follow along. Always have books and other reading materials available around the house, and take your kids on regular trips to the library to check out new stories. Putting this habit into practice paves the way for them developing various cognitive capabilities and can also help keep them away from digital screens.
Enjoy Family Activities Together
Parents who spend more time with their kids and who make family time important will likely have children with fewer behaviour problems and better senses of self-esteem. Strong family bonds last for a lifetime. Even small activities like making breakfast can be done together. Family time is a great way to teach kids core values, like the importance of volunteering, the reward of planting a garden, or the fun of arts and crafts.
Maintain A Positive Attitude
Sometimes, days go badly or things don’t turn out the way we want them to. But staying positive around your kids is the first step in teaching them to look on the bright side. You don’t have to pretend like bad occurrences don’t hurt, but focusing on the good and learning to turn things around will help your kids when they face tough situations later in life.
Instil in your children a lifelong love of being active and reading. Teach them the value of oral hygiene, eating healthy, and spending quality time with family. By demonstrating and enforcing these healthy habits and behaviours now, you’ll help your children develop habits that will serve them well for the rest of their lives, no matter what they encounter.
How do you help your kids develop healthy habits?