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How to Develop Healthy Habits for Kids

Parents have significant influence over their children's behavior. They look up to us as a role model, which means that developing positive habits early on will benefit them in the long run.

Developing healthy habits for kids doesn't happen overnight though. It takes time, patience and a lot of love to ensure they are growing up to become the best version of themselves. Whether you're helping them in improving their eating habits, establishing a daily kids supplement routine, developing an appreciation for the great outdoors, or adjusting to their new environment, the goal is to take it one step at a time.

Below are ways to help your children develop healthier habits.

Develop Healthy Habits for Kids

1. Enliven the Spirit of Family

Teaching the value of togetherness allows children to understand what it means to be in a healthy and happy family.  As parents, we must foster a positive experience for our children regardless of whether we are eating, playing, or learning together.

For instance, sharing at least one meal encourages your child to eat healthier meals. Additionally, it becomes a chance to bond with them around the dinner table, discussing how school went, what exciting activities you might do on your next vacation, and so forth. Furthermore, it embodies a supportive environment wherein children feel they are safe and loved.

On the flip side, if parents aren't making time to spend with their children or become overly protective or possessive, it may discourage their child's positive development. They could become withdrawn and insecure.

Family Exercise

2. Pick Engaging Physical Activities Together

We all want our children to enjoy the benefits of exercise and the great outdoors. However, every kid is different. Others may prefer swimming over basketball. Some individuals may find an interest later in life.

Picking a physical activity as a family shows them that play is beyond enjoying the park or building sand castles. Exposing them to friendly sports at a young age teaches them the importance of camaraderie as well as living an active and healthy lifestyle. Additionally, exposing kids to the beauty of nature teaches them the virtue of coexisting peacefully with other living beings.

Always keep in mind that success does not always come easily. Making it a memorable experience makes all the difference. Maintain a healthy pace. Allow for changes and progressive adaptation. "It is more important to spend time with your children than it is to spend money on them," says Naheed Ali, MD, PhD. of HealthcarePropulsion.com. Determine which physical exercise will inspire the best response from your child. Even if you like soccer, you must let your child to uncover their potential strengths.

One of the most effective tips is slowly introducing them to physical activities. Take a short walk to the park every chance you get, and when they're ready, you can start going further and trek the easiest routes. Watch live sports together and see if they become more excited to try it themselves.

3. Practice Good Hygiene

Another way to encourage healthy habits for kids is to teach them good hygiene. Be a role model by being by their side every step of the way when they brush their teeth, bathe thoroughly and wash their hands. Small things like kids learning to cover their mouths when they sneeze and cough makes a big impact as they grow old together and socialize more.

Proper hygiene is much more than encouraging better behavior in others. Additionally, it benefits their health. Encouraging kids in developing these healthy habits ensures that they will take care of themselves on the inside and out.

Limit Screen Time

4. Limit Screen Time

We understand. It is not always possible to be present with your child 24 hours a day and give them your complete attention. The most popular option, arguably, is to allow kids to spend as much time as possible with their gadgets. After all, we live in a world that is more digital. Allowing children to spend an excessive amount of time with their game consoles, phones, tablets, or laptops, on the other hand, may encourage kids to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. It will have an effect on their social abilities, as well as their capacity to maintain a schedule and get enough sleep.

Limit their time on screens by dedicating other activities they can engage in. Encourage them to develop a schedule in which they anticipate engaging tasks rather than simply waking up and sitting all day with their gadgets.. It's also critical for them to see you spend less time on your phone and computer too. Leading by example is crucial when you want your kids to practice healthy habits.

Balanced Diet for Kids

5. Eat a Balanced Diet

One of the most essential healthy habits to instill in kids is eating a balanced diet. Meals make up for a child's development, or lack thereof. When they eat healthy foods, they are able to function better and have the energy they need for play, school and family time.

Food and children can be a challenge, as kids tend to gravitate toward unhealthy foods. Once again, patience is important. Assuring that eating is a joyful experience makes it much easier for them to develop a desire to eat healthier.

Health and nutrition must be your top priority as a parent. Filling them up with sugar and snacks at inconvenient times rather than arranging a family meal together discourages them from eating well. Additionally, they are more prone to acquire weight or, worse, to become obese. Make an effort to provide a better balanced meal for your children each day. Supplements can also help in filling in nutritional gaps and ensuring kids receive all the nutrients they need.

Busy schedules can get in the way and often lead to your child eating unhealthy meals. When this happens, try your best to prepare nutritious foods ahead of time. Set a day when you can go to the store to buy all the fruits and vegetables and other healthy options that will boost your child's well-being. Prepare them ahead of time and use this as another opportunity for your children to learn about cooking. This manner, the food you provide them is completely familiar. This is highly helpful for picky eaters. If it's taking a longer time for them to enjoy these healthy foods, introducing a supplement could also help.

6. Keep Up With Those Checkups

It's invaluable to get frequent medical advice from your child's doctor. These visits are important to ensure your little one is meeting their milestones appropriately. Additionally, this is an opportunity for you to determine whether or not your child is inherently resistant to specific foods or if they have certain health concerns to watch for.

Apart from their local physician, be sure to make time for occasional eye exams or dental visits.

Free Time with Kids

7. Make Free Time Fun

The last thing you want is for your children to feel they're a burden. Healthy habits are only formed when kids feel they are safe, engaged and encouraged to grow in a loving environment.

Make it enjoyable whether you're watching a movie, camping, or cooking together in the kitchen. Allow yourself to be spontaneous and to make a little mess. Allow for mistakes from which they can learn. Disconnect from distractions that may keep you from being totally present with your children whenever possible.

It Starts with You!

Healthy habits are only formed when children see their parents as a good example. Remember childhood is one, if not the most formative years of their life.

How you raise your children has an effect on their future view and conduct. They are only young for a brief period of time. Make the most of your time with your little ones by creating happy memories together. ”Encouraging to live lifestyle is something that parents should take very seriously”, according to Dr. Ali.

While you're at it, round out your child's daily health regimen with the appropriate children's supplements.

Dr. Naheed Ali, MD, PhD

Dr. Naheed Ali, MD, PHD

Naheed Ali, MD, PhD, is a physician by education and a writer by choice since 2005. He earned an MD degree in 2008 and later completed Harvard Medical School's lifestyle medicine training in 2012, before obtaining a PhD in holistic health elsewhere in 2013. He brings more than 15 years of experience working in a remote environment and has more than 15 years of health-related publications to his credit. 

For years, he taught at colleges in the US where he lectured on various biomedical topics and delivered over 2000 hours of live presentations. He is also the author of numerous health titles from major New York publishers and his books have sold more than 20,000 hardcover copies worldwide.  Now a digital nomad, he’s currently a health and wellness writer for hire. His online home is HealthcarePropulsion.com.