It’s so important to start teaching your kids healthy habits from a young age, whether it’s good nutrition, exercising or personal hygiene. Kids are like sponges, and they pick up information from a lot of different areas, so I’ve always found it helpful to encourage healthy habits from the beginning.
What Are Some Ways to Encourage Healthy Habits
There are three different areas we have always focused on with our kids: healthy eating, personal care and exercise (through play or team sports).
Eating and Nutrition
There are many ways to help teach your children about healthy eating habits and fueling their bodies well. Here are a few to start with:
- Read books together on food and healthy nutrition. There are many great books about growing and harvesting food that are fun to read and helpful for teaching children about a healthy diet and eating fresh and local.
- When they are old enough to read, start talking about food labels and how to read them. What do you want to see on the label? What should you avoid? What healthy food swaps could you make?
- Have your kids help in the kitchen with meal and snack preparation. Ask for their input when making menu choices for the week–it’s a great opportunity to talk about what you’re making and why. They can also help pack their lunches with guidance as they get older. Greek yogurt cups are a huge hit for the boys, as are the YoKids for snacks (I freeze them, so they stay nice and cold until lunch!)
- Have a fun toothbrushing routine to make it entertaining for the kids. We love our Sonicare kids toothbrush with the accompanying app– the kids fight over who gets to use it first!
- Look for personal care products like shampoo and soap that are free of harsh and harmful chemicals like parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, artificial fragrances and artificial colors (like Tom’s of Maine products!).
- Teach proper hand washing after using the bathroom and before and after eating. This healthy habit will definitely help to cut down on the spread of germs through the household too!
- I have always encouraged the boys to get outside and play (even when it’s freezing here in New England!). Time outside can be simple free play– in which kids tend to exercise a lot!
- Model healthy exercise. Kids look to you to see what you are doing ALL the time. You can say all you want, but they watch what you do and that is usually more important to them.
- Encourage your child to participate in healthy activities that require movement like organized team sports or dance.
What do YOU do to encourage healthy habits in your kids?