There is no denying that parents spend all their resources to make it certain that their children live a healthy life. One of the biggest priorities of parents is to develop healthy habits in children that bring lifelong benefits. However, it is important to start young when teaching healthy living habits.
It is imperative that parents never try to implement things on their children. Instead, they should be supportive and helpful.
Here are the top 7 tips to help children develop healthy habits.
1. Be their Role Model
Being role model is everything, when it comes to kids. The most powerful role model for a child is no one other than parents. A child needs boundaries and love, which a perfect parent can give. Children pay attention to everything parents do and say, and try to imitate their actions. For example -If they notice you eating right and getting active, they will take notice of your efforts.
Becoming a role model means taking a close and honest look at your own life. Parents need not be perfect always. You should check-in to evaluate your behavior and make changes if required. Include your child in a conversation and ask him/her to share something that he/she would like to explore.
As the child gets older, they need more independence. Teach healthy skepticism, as children look eagerly to their surroundings for role models. Make them understand that not all role models are reliable and teach them how to have a healthy skepticism.
2. Limit TV, Mobile and Smartphone Usage
Today, children are growing up immersed in digital media in different forms such as – TV, smartphones, computers etc. Media can influence how children feel and learn to think. Using smart devices lead to a sedentary lifestyle and excessive snacking, increasing the risk of obesity and related disorders.
Limit the screen time to 1-2 hours per day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is found that kids who watch more than 2 hours of TV are at greater risk for a number of health conditions such as – irregular sleep, obesity, behavioral difficulties, social problems, attention disorders etc.
Engage in family activities that promote well-being such as – talking, playing, reading etc. Set a good example by turning off the TV and smartphones during media-free times with your family.
3. Encourage Children to Pursue their Passion
Every child is unique with different set of skills and interests. Help your child find a physical activity he/she is passionate about, and encourage them to pursue it. Their passion for the activity will drive them to fitness.
Let your child experiment with different activities until they find something that they really love doing. Children stick to the activity for longer period, if they love it. Don’t force the child to learn something, which he/she doesn’t like. If they don’t enjoy the activity or sport, they won’t take it seriously – and it will serve just as a workout.
Help your kids understand that each step they take on the path of success of significant, and they don’t have to be a pro overnight. The important thing is that they have an interest and they are excited about achieving something.
4. Pick Rewarding Rewards
Reward system is the best practice among children, as it helps in managing child’s behavior and gets them to finish all the important work on time. Remember that rewards are not bribes and they should motivate children in a positive way, rather than making them greedy.
Parents often make the mistake of rewarding children with snacks, candies, video games, and gadgets etc for job that is done well. If you want to celebrate good behavior find other ways such as – going on a trip, bonus screen time, role reversal, paint a featuring wall, having a sleepover with friends etc.
Life is about small wins and achievements. It is easier to accomplish mini-goals than high-end goals. Reward your kids whenever they achieve these small goals.
5. Make Dinner a Family Time
When the whole family eats together, children tend to develop healthy eating habits from other members of family. According to research, sharing dinner with family makes the kids well adjusted. Children are less likely to be obese or overweight, as they eat under the supervision of parents.
The best thing about family dinner is that it develops a sense of bonding between parents and their children. Following a regular mealtime in childhood can help your kids turn into a disciplined person in future.
Help them understand the importance of healthy breakfast. Going to school or college without breakfast will increases the chances of obesity and chronic diseases when they grow old. Try to include high fiber in breakfast, as it keeps them active and healthy throughout the day.
Make colorful food choice, as it has many health benefits. You need not to make every meal colorful. However, you should make an effort to incorporate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in regular diet.
6. Don’t Compare Children with Others
Praise children for low wins rather than condemning for small losses. Don’t ever compare your child with others, as it develops inferiority complex in them. Children often get discouraged when things go wrong or don’t go their way. When they experience setbacks, help them learn resilience by showing them the importance of positive attitude.
Children are too tender and they do not take well to negative criticism. It is crucial to teach kids to be grounded without comparing them with others. They should be taught to be better themselves rather than comparing them with others at each and every step.
7. Develop Strong Reading Skills
Reading skills are essential component of child’s success at different stages of life. Reading helps the child build self-esteem and relationship with parents and success in later life. It is recommended to make reading a part of your child’s bedtime routine. Choose books that your child likes so that they view reading as a treat.
Many parents read stories to their children, when they are young. There are many things that parents can do to help improve reading skills in children, such as – establishing a regular reading routine, help the child find books they love, stay involved in child’s reading skills etc.
In short, developing good reading habits in children plays an important role in building their future.
By following the above tips, you can develop healthy habits in children that can have a healthy impact in future life.