Every parent wants the best for their child. Successful, happy futures start with what they learn at home. It’s up to every parent to find smart ways to encourage healthy habits in your children. If you don’t prioritise them now, your kids won’t understand why they’re important later.
Check out these simple tips to help your children choose healthy habits. They’re fun, engaging ways to show your kids how to make good choices and avoid bad habits.
1. Lead by Example
Whether they know it or not, kids watch their parents and learn from them. They see you do things like eat dinner or talk with friends and mimic you. You can lead by example and teach them about healthy habits by doing them for yourself.
If you want to teach your children to drink water every day, drink more water too. They won’t feel singled out or uncomfortable if you participate in new habits alongside them.
2. Buy Only Healthy Food
Stocking your kitchen with junk food doesn’t help if you want your kids to eat a healthier diet. They’ll reach for the pre-packaged fatty snacks and meals because they’re colorful, tasty and well-marketed.
A recent study found that food marketing impacts children’s consumption and preferences of unhealthy foods. They watch commercials on TV or internet ads and unknowingly train their minds to pick those branded foods over boring apples or whole-grain crackers.
Don’t give them the option of bad food at home. Buy only healthy choices so they learn to love those instead.
3. Set Up Playdates
Playdates might not be at the top of your healthy habits list, but they should be. When children frequently socialize at a young age, they learn to manage stress and resolve conflict before reaching grade school. These skills will benefit them with peers, colleagues and loved ones as they grow into adulthood. They’re a fundamental part of enjoying a healthy social life and sense of confidence.
4. Make It Fun
Kids have more indoor entertainment options than ever before. Most of them involve sitting, like watching TV or playing video games. You can encourage healthy habits in your children by making exercise more fun. They’ll likely groan at the thought of playing outside because they love their indoor entertainment. That’s where a little creativity comes in handy.
According to recent research, doctors consider 18.5% of kids obese because they don’t get enough movement. Outdoor games with loved ones make that more appealing. Create weekly exercise challenges, play with them on the playground and give them exercise variety so physical activity never gets boring.
5. Set a Timer
When you’re engaged in a great movie or game, it’s shocking how time flies. Remind your children to unplug by setting a timer. Establish specific lengths of time for them to lounge or play online. After the timer goes off, they should switch to something new, like exercising.
Electronics also give parents a helpful tool. After a little research, manage parental controls per device so the electronic locks your kids out after their allotted time is over. This helps break habits like scrolling mindlessly through social media so your kids can replace them with healthier alternatives.
6. Teach About Daily Habits
Another reason kids might fight you on healthy habits is because they don’t understand them. Brushing their teeth every night is boring. Flossing is tedious. They’d rather spend that time with their toys, but that might change if they learn why dental care is so important.
Encourage health habits in your children by teaching them why they matter. Demonstrate how toothbrushes remove plaque and floss improves their gum health. Older kids could even see pictures of what their teeth could turn into after dental neglect.
7. Create Bonding Experiences
Young kids love spending time with their parents. They look up to you and want more time together, so give that to them. Make their new healthy habits opportunities for bonding experiences.
If you want to enforce a bedtime so they get the eight hours of sleep they need, start reading a story to them before turning the lights out. They’ll bask in your attention and love, all while you make memories and set them up for a lifetime of healthy habits.
8. Celebrate Small Milestones
Everyone’s worked diligently at something only for that work to go unrecognized. Kids feel the same way. If they make all of these changes to their lives, they’ll get frustrated if they don’t see positive results. It’s not enough to know they’re fighting invisible plaque or providing microscopic nutrients to their bodies.
Make each habit a milestone and celebrate them. When your children get their yearly flu shot, reward them with a new toy. Do a thirty-second dance party together whenever they finish their homework before dinner. Whether you want them to learn time management, prioritize their health or exercise more, it always helps to feel supported and appreciated after making positive changes in your life.
Talk With Them
As you try these smart ways to encourage healthy habits in your children, remember to check-in with them. Talk about why they don’t want to do something if they complain. Learn why they don’t like it. Use their opinions as a springboard for creative solutions and they’ll always maintain the habits you help them form.
What are your top tips to encourage healthy habits in your kids? Tell us in the comments below.