7 Easy Healthy Habits for Kids With Powerful Results
New Year’s resolutions have become a punchline these days.
In fact, the 17th of January is officially known as “Ditch New Years Resolutions Day.” So what’s the secret to sticking to resolutions? Start small, and break those big goals down into everyday habits. This especially works well for kids. Whether we’re teachers or parents, we all want to establish better habits in our kids, and we’re not just talking about brushing teeth. But how can we set them up for success?
By taking these things one day at a time. From cleaning the house to reading more books, every single one of these simple yet powerful habits will help set your child up for success all throughout their lives—and should make your daily routines a little bit easier in the meantime.
Choose from 7 healthy habits to teach kids, and learn some easy ways to get started together in the New Year!
1. How to Keep a Clean House
When you were a kid, how often did you get excited about helping with laundry or dishes? Probably not very much. Now, however, the ability to wash laundry without ruining an entire load and to keep a house (relatively) clean is pretty valuable.
When you give kids chores, you’re actually teaching them responsibility—for their own belongings, their home, and their community.
Get started today: Make cleanup fun by starting off letting your toddler “help” wash dishes in a children’s play sink that’s the perfect size for them. As they grow older, you can start a chore chart for kids, and reward them with stickers or activities for a job well done. Watch them take ownership of their tasks!
2. How to Read More
If you thought it was hard to teach kids to read in the first place, try getting them to keep reading when video games and other endless entertainment options abound.
Why is it important to keep your kids reading? One study shows that kids who frequently read books at age 10 and later have higher test results than those who read less!
Get started today: Start by making sure you’re choosing appropriate books for your child’s age (see our post about great books for all ages). Better yet, if they’re old enough, let them choose the books they like! Make sure you keep books easily accessible on a front-facing shelf, so they’ll be more likely to grab one when they’re bored.
3. How to Share
During the holidays, it’s pretty easy for children to slip into the “gimme” state of mind. It’s just human nature to want to get gifts, rather than to give them. However, it’s not impossible to start teaching your child about the joys of generosity!
Get started today: Let your kids start small, by teaching kids to share things like wood blocks with friends. Encourage older children to think of ways to give generously to others during the holidays, whether it’s by making holiday treats for the class or by buying a holiday gift for a needy child.
4. How to Make Good Friends
Do you remember how easy it was to make friends in Kindergarten? All you had to do was share a toy, and suddenly you had a brand new best buddy.
Spending time with friends helps children develop social and emotional skills, which sets them up for success later on in life (networking events, anyone?). This is particularly important for children diagnosed with ADHD, who often suffer from poor social skills.
Get started today: Encourage your child to discover and cultivate healthy relationships. If you’re a teacher, consider ways that you can create safe environments that encourage teamwork and collaboration, and watch the little social butterflies fly!
5. How to Find Balance in Life
How chaotic is your child’s schedule? Depending on their age, it could be a lot. When your child is well rested, they perform better on tests, pay better attention during class, and are better able to fight off those common classroom illnesses.
Get started today: Schedule time for young children to quietly read a book in a comfy Birch Living Room chair or draw at the table. They’ll recharge their batteries in a productive way.
6. How to Eat Healthy
Studies show kids are more likely to establish healthy diets (and will take more risks with new foods) if they learn how to cook for themselves!
Another important part of setting up your kids for healthy diet success? Eating together as a family. A 2012 study by Rutgers University showed that families who eat together most often are generally healthier.
Get started today: Establish healthy eating habits for kids by encouraging them to help you cook. Then, set up a regular time to eat together, whether that’s by kicking off the day with a good breakfast or finishing strong with a healthy dinner.
7. How to Exercise Regularly
Regular physical activity in childhood is proven to build bones and muscles, control weight, and reduce anxiety, amongst other benefits. Unfortunately, studies show that most young kids in America don’t get enough exercise. How can we get our little couch spuds moving if they aren’t so inclined?
Get started today: The key is to make exercise fun. Provide youngsters with Active Play products, such as the ECR4Kids “Gus” Climb-N-Crawl Caterpillar, or start a game of swashbuckling pirate adventures on the ECR4Kids Buccaneer Boat. If your child is old enough, invite them to join you in your workout routine, whether that’s through yoga or walks with the dog. Later on, consider enrolling your child in a team sport or dance.
So there you have it—7 ways to help children develop into healthy adults. What kinds of healthy habits are your kids cultivating? What kinds of challenges have you faced along the way, and how did you and your child overcome?
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