Every phase of a human’s life brings with it new learning opportunities and childhood is no exception. Childhood is the formative years and the lessons learned and habits formed at this crucial time will stay with a child for the rest of their life. What behaviours are ingrained in them during their younger years will help shape the adult that they become so it is the perfect time for parents to instil a regime of healthy habits to create a solid foundation for their offspring’s future.
The following are some tips to help your child develop healthy habits:-
- Be a good role model – Parenting is hard and no one expects you to be perfect all the time but be aware that your child is watching every move you make and absorbing your patterns of behaviour. If your child sees you trying to eat the right food and being physically active, they will start to copy your actions and follow in your footsteps.
- Limit TV, video games and computer time – In today’s world, it is hard to imagine not using a screen as we are constantly exposed to computer screens, televisions, smartphones, and tablets. Research shows that spending more than one hour a day in front of a screen can seriously impact a child’s learning development and communication skills- not to mention being potentially damaging to their eyes.
Spending excessive time interacting with screens can also lead to a sedentary lifestyle, as well as encourage bad habits such as snacking which can increase the risk of obesity both in childhood and as an adult. Instead of sitting your child in front of a television or iPad, why not encourage them to take up a hobby? Activities such as painting, reading or learning a musical instrument are all proven to help develop and improve a child’s skill set whilst also being good for their mental and physical health.
- Pick enjoyable physical activities – Not every child loves sports however if they see you, as their parent being active and staying healthy, it becomes easy and they may very well carry their love of these activities into adulthood. If your child has not found their sports niche, do not give up, keep encouraging them and consider being active with them too. Help them to try out a range of physical activities, such as swimming, gymnastics, or one of the many kinds of dancing. Not only will you both get fit but exercise releases endorphins so you will both benefit from enhanced moods and lower your risk of developing depression.
- Enjoy family dinners – Life nowadays can easily become a blur of working, meeting, chores, and responsibilities and it can be hard to find time to sit down and enjoy a meal together as a family. According to several studies, switching off the television, sitting around a table and sharing a family meal means the familial bond strengthens, children become more well-adjusted, everyone eats more nutritious meals, and the family functions more as a unit rather than just ships that pass in the night.
- Keep your surroundings and yourself sanitised – There are many ways of keeping healthy and warding off nasty bugs, viruses, and bacteria’s. These include all the aforementioned points but one of the most important factors is keeping your home and person clean and sanitised. Teaching a child proper handwashing procedures as well as encouraging the use of sanitising wipes before and after using the bathroom or preparing food is extremely important and is perhaps one of the most important healthy habits you can teach your child.
These are just some ideas for ways to encourage your child to develop healthy habits. Ensuring your child abides by these suggestions will not only help them grow into a healthy, fit and well rounded individual, but it will improve your quality of life as well.