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7 Ways to Develop Healthy Habits for Kids

Parents have significant influence over their children's behavior. They look to us as their role model so instilling good habits at an early age 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 it's helping them eat better, appreciate the great outdoors or adjust to their environment, the key is to take it a step at a time.

Below are ways to help your children develop healthier habits.

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 a parent, we must nurture a positive experience whether we are eating, playing or learning together.

family eating a meal together

For example, enjoying at least one meal together opens up your child to eating healthy foods. Plus, it becomes the time to bond with them over the dinner table and talk about how school went, what could be the next fun activity next time you take a 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 They could become withdrawn and insecure.

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 may develop interest later on 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. Moreover, showing them the beauty of nature also teaches them the value of living harmoniously with other living things. 

family enjoying outdoors by the countryside

Always remember: It may not always come easy. Making it an experience that they will recall fondly makes all the difference. Pace yourself. Leave room for adjustments and gradual appreciation. See which physical activity your child will respond to the most. Even if you like soccer a lot, you have to allow your little one to discover what they could be good at.

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.

mother and child brushing teeth

Good hygiene isn't just about teaching better behavior among others. It's also instrumental to their health. Helping them practice these healthy habits help ensure they are going to take care of themselves inside and out.

4. Limit screen time

We get it. It's not always possible to be with your child 24/7 and dedicate your full, undivided attention. Arguably the most common solution is to let them spend as much time using their gadgets. After all, we live in such a highly digital world. However, letting them have excessive time with their gaming consoles, phones, tablets or computers could also lead them to live a sedentary lifestyle. It will affect their social skills as well as their ability to keep to a routine and get adequate sleep.

children using gadgets at a party

Limit their time on screens by dedicating other activities they can engage in. Encourage a routine that they anticipate other engaging tasks rather than just wake up and sit the whole 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.

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 challenging, as they gravitate towards what's not good for them. Again, patience is key. Ensuring eating is a positive experience makes it a lot easier for them to form a habit of wanting to eat better.

family eating a healthy meal

Health and nutrition must be your top priority as a parent. Filling them up with sugar and snacks at odd times instead of setting a family meal together hinders them from healthy eating. Plus, they're more likely to gain weight or worse, become overweight. Try your best to have a more balanced meal with your children everyday. Supplements can also help fill in the gaps and ensure they are getting 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 let this be another opportunity for your kids to get involved in the kitchen. This way, what you put on their plate isn't at all unfamiliar. This can be particularly beneficial 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 check-ups

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. Plus, it's also a chance for you to discover whether or not your child is inherently resistant to certain foods or they have certain health conditions you need to look out for.

child and father withe pediatrician

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

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.

family enjoying a day at the park

Whether you're watching a movie, camping or cooking together in the kitchen, make it fun. Let yourself loose and allow a little mess. Make room for mistakes they can learn from. Unplug from distractions that could stop you from fully being with your children every chance you get.

It starts with you

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

How you treat your kids growing up impacts their outlook of their future and their behavior. They're only young once. Make the most of the time with your little ones by building good memories together.

While you’re at it, cover all your bases by adding the right children's supplements to your child’s daily health regimen.