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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.

  • My 2 year old is so fussy at the moment I’m just happy for him to eat

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  • For us its about setting the example and having lots of fresh healthy options at home to make it more exciting. Daycare also did a brilliant job at reinforcing healthy eating

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  • I have a fussy eater but thankfully he loves fruit. He won’t eat veggies if they are on his plate but will happily eat them grated into his meals, even if he sees me do it. My other child is happy to eat pretty much anything at the moment but he likes more variety than his older brother. I could have problems as they get older but for now things are going OK.

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  • I think the greatest tip is to lead by example. Kids soak up what their parents do. Also encourage moderation. I find if you ban ‘bad’ foods, kids will gorge them in secret.

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  • My boys knew they had to try everything on their plate. They only had to have a little taste and if they didn’t like it they could leave it. Whether they ate it or not they would still have dessert if we were having it that night. They were praised for trying something different even if most was left behind. They now love many different fruit and vegetables more than I do

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  • We dont discuss food in our house. We offer options and let them eat what their body tells them they need. Some days we have dessert and serve it with dinner and it doesn’t even get touched. There is no such thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food in our house

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  • Thank you for sharing great tips.

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  • Having a veggie garden definitely helps. I cant let things grow to full size before theyre being eaten!

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  • I agree with these tips. Outside activities and getting kids over to play certainly helps to get the kids of their devices. I’m happy that at the moment even my teenagers have their love back for skateboards and roller blades :)

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  • Getting kids exposed to new people and being social definitely helps

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  • I’ve found growing our own veggies and cooking helps. My son is very fussy with fruit and for a while there we couldn’t get him to eat any, but I’ve found he will eat a fresh picked strawberry or some dried fruits too like mango or date.

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  • My problem is my mum she gives miss 2 what ever she wants

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  • Number one, lead by example! How all kids learn their habits

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  • Found this article very helpful.

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  • Great tips and easy enough to practice on a daily basis with children across different ages.

    Reply

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