You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and extra work in the long run if you teach your young children a few healthy habits from the get go. Don’t expect them to get it over night, but with constant reminding and occasional rewarding, some things will eventually stick, hopefully!
It’s never too early to encourage your children to start healthy habits; in fact the earlier you start the quicker they’re likely to catch on.
Here are 15 healthy habits you can teach your kids RIGHT NOW
1. Wash hands
To reduce the spread of colds and flu’s, and other unmentionables, get kids to wash their hands before they eat and every time they use the toilet. Make sure you supervise toddlers, you don’t want a flooded bathroom. While you’re at it get them into the habit of flushing the loo, trust me this is a MUST DO!
2. Brush teeth
Getting kids to brush their teeth gets harder as they get older and the novelty wears off, so make it something they do every morning and night. Make it fun by buying a themed toothbrush.
Little ones will have to sit this out but do encourage toddlers to help make sandwiches and stir the mixture. Getting your 6-year-old to help make dinner might be messy but it could inspire them to do it more.
It’s the best medicine and reminding your children that it’s great to laugh and have a giggle will set healthy habits. Make sure you lead by example and find time to have fun with your kids.
Make sunscreen a must-do from an early age so it becomes second nature for them. Once they’re about five they can usually do it themselves, but still supervise because sunscreen is FUN for kids to play with!
6. Tidying up their own mess
Yes it’s tempting to clean up the horrific mess your child has just made, but by doing you’re not making them responsible for their actions. Sure it might take them 30 minutes to tidy when you’re just three, but trust me it’s worth it in the long run.
7. Hang towel up
This is one habit you want your kids to get from a young age because seeing wet towels strewn across the floor is enough to push you over the edge after a long day.
Encourage them to put plastics, paper and other recycles in the container in the pantry or wherever you keep it and discuss why recycling is important.
9. Staying safe
Instead of warning your kids about ‘stranger danger’ – because sometimes strangers might be able to help them in a crisis – talk about staying safe by not taking food from unknown people or going anywhere without asking you first. Discuss that funny feeling they might get in their tummy if something doesn’t feel right.
10. Getting enough sleep
While it’s hard for young ones to know the benefits of sleep, talk about how sleep recharges them and helps their brain and body rest. If they can’t sleep encourage rest times.
11. Having breakfast
It’s easy to skip this meal when life is chaotic, but set an example by eating breakfast with your kids if you can. Talk about how it kick-starts their body and helps them concentrate in the classroom.
12. Good food and bad food
Try to avoid bribing little ones with treats, this is a hard habit to break as they grow as they’ll come to expect it. Talk to them about every day foods and once in a while ones.
13. Playing outside
When the climate allows, encouraging kids to run around outside with a ball, a piece of chalk or even a plastic container to collect bugs, will nurture a love of the outdoors.
14. Using manners
A please and thank you will endear your children to the harshest of critics, so work on getting them to be polite and use their manners where applicable.
15. Be a good friend
Teach your kids from an early age how to be a nice friend and to spread a little kindness if they can. Talk to your kids about expressing happy emotions not just sad ones, it’s better to have children who speak their minds instead of bottling things up.