Even though all parents want their kids to have healthy habits, sometimes getting them to stick is a little tricky. With children being heavily influenced by their surroundings it’s easy for them to quickly fall into bad habits or routines that feel easy. However, building up healthy habits with your kids sooner rather than later is important if you want them to stick throughout their teenage years and adulthood too. Here’s some ways to help your children start building up some healthy habits they can keep up long term.
Encourage Physical Activity Everyday
Encouraging your child to build up a habit of doing some form of physical activity every day is a really great healthy habit to start with. In fact, it’s important to make sure your child has a good relationship with exercise by making it a fun and normal part of everyday life. This can be getting them to walk to school, walk the dog, go out for family bike rides or even help you wash the car. Activities such as swimming, dancing or football are also great if your child is interested in pursuing a sport- however, general movement every day is just as important for your kids to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
Make Healthy Snacking Normal
It’s quite normal for kids to have snacks here and there, but making sure your kids opt for healthy snacks over sugary, unhealthy ones is a great small habit to help them build. A fantastic way to do this is to make healthy snacks easily accessible for your kids and opt out of keeping sugary treats in the house. Even though it may take a while for them to stop asking for chocolate or crisps, eventually after a few months of having healthier choices, they will most likely forget about the unhealthy options!
Set Screen Time Limits And Stick To Them
Having screen time limits and sticking to them is a really important habit for your kids to develop. Not only is screen time inactive time, watching TV and playing video games shouldn’t be what’s taking up all of your child’s time. Living an inactive lifestyle also makes it much more likely that your child will become overweight, not to mention staring at a screen for too long can prevent them from having a good night’s sleep. We recommended putting a set amount of time for screens in place and making sure your child is aware of their daily limit. It’s even a good idea to utilise timers or stopwatches to really keep an eye on timings. If your child is up to it they could even be in charge of setting them, giving them the responsibility of knowing when they need to turn everything off.
Make Reading An Everyday Activity
Making reading an everyday activity is an excellent habit to build up with your kids. In fact, there’s no such thing as too much reading- it’s one of the simplest and most educationally valuable ways a child can spend their time. It even helps build a child’s self-esteem, relationships with parents and others, as well as sets them up for success in later life. We recommend letting your kids read what they enjoy the most, whether that’s regular fiction or non-fiction books, picture books, magazines, graphic novels, recipes or blogs. Whether you opt for an allocated reading time before bed or just an hour per day, making it a daily habit for the whole family is a great way for everyone to stick to it.
Lead By Example
Finally, perhaps the most important way to help your child start healthy habits and stick to them is to set the example yourself. Children learn by example, so one of the best things you can do for their healthy habits to form is to make sure you’re actively pursuing healthy habits yourself. Just remember, you don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if kids see you trying to eat right and prioritise being physically active over sitting at a screen, they’ll take notice of your efforts.