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How To Teach Kids To Pick Up Healthy Habits – For Life!

September 28, 2019

Here’s How To Teach Kids To Pick Up Healthy Habits

Want to know how to teach healthy habits for kids that will stay with them for life?

Healthy habits for kids

Why Is A Healthy Daily Routine So Important?

As a parent, it’s important to teach your children to pick up healthy habits, so they can have a healthy childhood, and retain these habits into adulthood.

But even for adults, it takes a while for to learn and retain new habits, Did you know it takes the average person around two months, or 66 days, for new habits to become everyday behaviours?

So when it comes to children, it’s important to teach them to pick up healthy habits that they will keep, starting from when they are very young.

Here’s how to teach children to pick up healthy habits:

Healthy Habits for kids - how to teach children to pick up healthy habits
  • Make healthy habits part of your daily routine:
  • If you make healthy habits part of you and your children’s daily routine early on, then the repetition and familiarity will soon lead to these actions becoming second nature and hopefully things they will carry on doing as they grow.
  • Teaching them healthy habits is less daunting than it sounds. We bet you’re already helping your children to wash their hands and brush their teeth, which are basic but important healthy habits to have in everyone’s life.
  • With some healthy habits, it helps if they take place at the same time each day, so they become a  familiar part of the family routine. For example, when it comes to a habit like giving them their daily multi-vitamin, take this at a specific time each day every day, such as before breakfast or after lunch, so children become used to it.
  • Show the habits, don’t tell them
  • Display healthy habits yourself, rather than simply telling children to do something. They are likely to see and mimic your example and pick it up naturally.
  • Emphasise washing your own hands each time you use the bathroom and before meals, eat lots of healthy food and say please and thank you in your own conversations, especially when you’re speaking to them.
  • Explain why healthy habits are important
  • Children can understand a lot, and it’s more likely that they will do something if they know why it’s important. It doesn’t have to be a complicated explanation, if you keep it simple they are more likely to  understand why they are doing it.  
  • You could say ‘we wash our hands to keep them clean and stop us getting sick.’ Or ‘we like to play sports because it’s fun and keeps our bodies healthy.’
  • Use positive reinforcement
  • Try not to be critical when they forget to do something. Instead, praise all the good times when they do remember.
  • Make healthy habits fun and less of a chore
  • As Mary Poppins says ’In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. Find the fun and *snap* – the job’s a game.’ Try and make healthy habits as fun as possible and less of a chore. Can you buy a toothbrush in their favourite cartoon character? Or buy a colourful, easy-to-use soap dispenser and have it within easy reach in the bathroom?
  • When it comes to healthy habits like exercise, find an activity they enjoy, be it swimming, scootering, or playing football in the park with their friends. An event like Junior ParkRun is free and something the whole family can also get involved in.
  • Be realistic
  • And finally, when it comes to teaching children about healthy habits, be realistic. No child will always remember to wash their hands, especially when they are rushing out to play. Remember to praise all the times they do them, instead.

Make sure you also read these posts on children and health:

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