As a parent, you play a big part in shaping your children’s habits. Your job is to guide your children towards habits that will support their health and wellbeing, not only today but for years to come. Helping your kids make healthy choices from a young age will set them up for success as they grow up. Being a good role model is one of the best ways to instill these healthy values in your children. Of course, adopting and maintaining healthy habits isn’t always easy. In this article, we share some effective ways to shape your family’s habits towards a happy and healthy lifestyle.
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Exhibit Good Money Habits
Children are never too young to start learning about healthy money management. Teaching your children the value of financial health is one of the best things you can do to help them build a safe and secure future for themselves. Quick and Dirty Tips suggests integrating money into your daily life to show your kids how you make purchase decisions, pay the bills, and plan for emergencies.
You could also give your child an allowance to help them learn how to handle money of their own. Earning small amounts of money through household chores is a great practice in responsible savings and impulse control. This will create a safe environment for your children to make financial mistakes and learn from them. Take advantage of these teachable moments!
Emphasize the Importance of Sleep
Most of us remember having a strict bedtime when we were children. But how many of us knew why we had to go to bed so early? After all, our parents always stayed up later than us! Teaching the importance of a full night’s sleep and establishing healthy sleep habits now will help your kids avoid issues with sleep deprivation as they grow older. Did you know that the majority of teenagers are sleep-deprived? Help your kids get on track with a good sleep schedule before they reach their teenage years. Consistency is key!
Create a Positive Eating Environment
Most parents have good intentions when encouraging healthy eating. However, be careful to avoid pressuring your kids to eat certain foods, using food as a reward or punishment, making special meals to accommodate their preferences, or restricting your kid’s diet to only healthy options. All of these actions can create unhealthy eating behaviors. Your goal is to help your kids practice making healthy choices on their own! Help your children learn how to eat mindfully, listen to their bodies, and experience the natural consequences of their decisions.
Make Time for Family Fitness
Regular exercise is important for good whole-body health. Beyond maintaining a healthy weight, exercising will help your child sleep better, enjoy higher energy levels, stress less, and feel happier. Encouraging young kids to exercise isn’t hard—they’ll run around whether you want them to or not! But as children grow older, they tend to prefer sedentary activities to playing tag or hanging from the monkey bars.
ISSA recommends helping your kids find fun ways to meet their daily physical activity goals. This could mean registering them to a team sport they want to try, planning exciting family activities, and giving them gifts that encourage them to get up off the couch and get moving. Make it a goal to explore new family fitness adventures every once in a while, like going snowshoeing in the winter or hiking in the summer. Getting active as a family is a great way to set an example for your kids and help them associate exercise with positive feelings!
Stress the Importance of Education
If you notice that your child is struggling with their homework, make sure to set aside time to help. Doing so will not only help their grades, but it will also stress the importance of getting a quality education. In fact, you can put this importance into action by going back to school yourself. Pursuing the degree you’ve always wanted is easier than ever; for example, if you’ve always had an interest in teaching, start taking classes online to earn your master’s in education and show that education is important regardless of your age.
One of the most important things you can teach your children is how to make healthy choices on their own. You won’t always be around to guide them in the right direction. Create a safe space for them to explore healthy habits, make mistakes, and learn how to take care of themselves. The lessons they learn today will stick with them for years to come!