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How Should You Teach Your Child Healthy Habits?

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Kids learn by mimicking the behavior of people around them. This is why they must have role models growing up. If you want to instill positive values in your children, it starts at home. One of the best ways to ensure that they will grow into healthy adults is to practice healthy habits with them. A crucial time for habit formation is before they turn nine. After this phase, it will not be easy to break some of their learned behavior. Now, the saying “teach them young” just makes much more sense.

Nutrition

In movies, you would often see parents getting frustrated because their toddlers won’t eat broccoli. This doesn’t have to be the case in real life. Make them watch you when you prepare food. Go grocery shopping with them. Let them choose what vegetables they want to include for lunch. It is better to give them a sense of control over what to eat than just to force them to eat what you made.

Teach them the value of moderation. Many adults suffer from obesity and eating disorders. It takes a lot of time and effort to embrace healthier practices such as eating in moderation. You could help your child avoid this in the future.

You could explain to them simply how the body works. That it burns energy from food, and that is what keeps people moving. Emphasize how much food is enough to fuel people’s bodies. Still, let them enjoy their pizza and ice cream. This is how they can put into practice what they learn.

Oral health

Children easily learn dental practices as long as they are part of their daily routine. You may be thinking that dental health may not be necessary for children because their teeth are not permanent.  That is wrong. Tooth decay and other dental problems may affect your child’s dental health in the future.

Supervise them when they brush their teeth. As early as the first teeth show up, you should start brushing them at least twice a day. You can start to use a pea-sized amount of teeth for children aged three.

You can make brushing fun for them. Make them play games such as finding the teeth aside from those in front.

Make fun stories about how some doctors help children have a pretty smile. Show them pictures and videos of dentists and what they do. This helps them become familiar so that their first visit to a pediatric dentist’s clinic won’t be scary.

Mental health

Mom with her tween daughter relaxing in bed, positive feelings, good relations.

An issue that many adults deal with is their mental health. A decade ago, people were not yet open to the idea that the brain can have illnesses, too. Thankfully, conditions have improved. Mental health care is now more accessible.

Create a warm environment for your child and let them know that their feelings are valid. Talk to them about the importance of mental health just like the importance of eating healthy. Make it a habit to ask at dinner how everybody’s day has been.

Model healthy behavior. Talk about your feelings openly. If their screaming upsets you, tell them gently. One day, they will also let you know if something you said or did upset them. When they do, make sure you validate their feelings. Don’t make them feel that their emotions are less valid just because they are “just” children.

If they ever ask or get curious, explain mental health issues in a way they can understand. Don’t postpone telling them until they are older.

Active Lifestyle

Children are usually active. They like running around, crawling, and kicking things. Observe your children and see what they are inclined to do. When in family outings, add an activity where they can be physically active. Ride bicycles, fly kites, or go swimming. See what they enjoy the most.

You can also include your kids in physical activities every day. Let them tag along when you walk the dog in the morning or when you water the plants. Play with them when they ask to. And introduce them to as many sports and physical activities as you can. Reduce screen time. This reinforces the value of moderation. At the same time, this gives them more opportunities to explore physical activities.

Raising children is no easy feat. You only want the best for your child, and that’s where the challenge comes from. It is okay to admit that sometimes you don’t know what to do. Cut yourself some slack, especially if this is your first time being a parent. There are professionals you can run to for help to ensure that you’re giving your child the best life possible.

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