Five Healthy Habits You Should Teach Your Kids Early
Many parents are struggling to overcome bad habits. Bad habits such as overeating, procrastination or spending too much time on the Internet are common and many people strive to overcome these. Even more important than overcoming one’s own bad habits is finding a way to instill good habits in children. Teaching children to develop positive habits can set them up to enjoy a lifetime of improved health and vitality. The following five habits are important to help all children develop.
1. Frequent Exercise
Exercising frequently is one habit many adults struggle to find time for. However, instilling the value of exercise in children can help those children carry the habit into adulthood. Children should be encouraged to engage in some type of vigorous physical activity for at least an hour every day. Examples of exercise for children can include organized sports, hiking, dancing or simply playing outside on the playground. Regular exercise can help your child avoid obesity, increase the ability to concentrate on schoolwork and maintain appropriate behaviors.
2. Eating More Vegetables
One of the most difficult habits to instill in children is the habit of eating enough vegetables each day. Some kids do not enjoy the taste of vegetables and other kids are simply not exposed to vegetables with every meal. Many children are willing to try vegetables if parents also consume them, so make sure to model good behavior! Take your children shopping at farmer’s markets, farm stands and grocery stores in order to expose them to all of the colors and shapes that vegetables come in. Help your child create unique snacks with vegetables, such as broccoli jungles or sweet pepper rings cut into the shape of flowers. You can also help your child grow his or her own vegetables in a garden. Many children are more willing to try vegetables that they grew themselves.
3. Brushing Teeth Regularly
Brushing a child’s teeth starts in infancy as the first tooth erupts from the gum line. However, once children become independent at brushing their teeth, they frequently neglect to brush their teeth after each meal. Busy schedules or forgetfulness can lead to poor dental hygiene. The professionals at Smile Reef Pediatric Dentistry recommend that children be encouraged to brush their teeth at least twice a day, with three times a day being best. If necessary, add a sticker chart to the bathroom and allow children to put a sticker on the chart each time they brush their teeth. Older children can even be encouraged to set alarms on their phones or portable devices to remind them to brush.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Homework, school and sports schedules often come at the expense of getting a good night’s sleep. Busy children may need to be reminded to go to bed early each night in order to be well rested for the next day. A lack of sleep can lead to health problems, difficulties with school or behavior problems, so it’s important to encourage your child to turn off the tv and computer, put the books away and get to bed early.
5. Limit Screen Time
In today’s overly connected society, many children begin using electronic devices from a very young age. Heavy computer, tablet, television and video game use can result in a lack of quality sleep or exercise, as well as a lower likelihood of completing school assignments and household chores in a timely manner. Parents should encourage their children to limit screen time to 30 to 60 minutes a day, and only after all other responsibilities have been met. It may even be helpful to have your child earn screen time only after completing other healthy habits, such as exercise and teeth brushing.
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