20+ Essential Healthy Habits For Kids To Inculcate

✔ Research-backed

Teaching children healthy habits is important to help them have a good-quality life in the future. In this post, we list the most important healthy habits for kids that will hold them in good stead.

As the days pass by, your little champ learns new things and develops physically as well as emotionally. As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach them good values and habits and be their role model. And the best time to start inculcating these habits in them is when they are young.

Moreover, teaching them the importance of healthy habits like regular exercise, practicing mindfulness and proper hydration will help them stay away from illnesses or infections. So, how do you imbibe these healthy habits in your children? We’ve got you covered. Read on for a list of important healthy habits that children should know and ways in which you can teach these to them.

protip_icon Do remember
Maintaining essential healthy behavior should be a lifetime routine. It is important to pick them from an early age to develop good habits.


In This Article

Top 20+ Healthy Habits For Kids

To simplify things, here we’ve prepared 20+ most important healthy habits that need to be inculcated into their daily routines.

Habits For Kids To Learn

Here are some habits that children should imbibe in their routine right from their foundation years.

1. Don’t skip breakfast:

 A nutritious breakfast will help your kid stay energetic.

Image: IStock

Getting your kid into a regular routine of breakfast-lunch-dinner will help him avoid unnecessary snacking right from the very beginning. This is probably the most crucial and important stage when it comes to helping your kid adopt healthy eating habits. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and helps them start their day the right way. A healthy breakfast complete with all food groups serves as a rich source of nutrition and will help your kid stay energetic and active throughout the day (1).

protip_icon Quick tip
Having a nutritious breakfast eliminates the bad habit of snacking on junk foods. Include a balanced diet as well.

2. Don’t forget to wash hands

Hand washing undoubtedly tops the list when it comes to getting your kid into a healthy habit – explain the importance of washing hands to your little kid, and also focus on the correct techniques – 20 seconds is a must for children. Teach your kids to wash their hands with soap or hand-wash liquid. Rinse well with water after using the bathroom and before eating food. The same must be followed after they come home from playing outdoors as it would help to prevent your kid from getting any kind of infection from other kids (2).

3. Use tissues properly

Make sure your kids follow the etiquette of using a tissue or kerchief when they need to cough or sneeze. You also get them into the habit of disposing of the tissues right away. Keep a trash can in your kid’s room. This would help to prevent the spread of infections among your kids. Also tell your kid to wash his or their hands immediately after sneezing to eliminate spreading of the infectious virus. Teach your kids about how germs can pass through from one kid to another and tell them that using tissues would prevent that (3).

4. Learn to flush

Your kid is well past his toilet training sessions. Good! Now make sure you educate them on the importance of flushing his efforts down. This will make them aware of how to use a toilet even if you are not around.

5. Go outdoors

It’s the age of iPads and Xboxes, and often, you may find your kid stuck to the television set or his brand-new tablet. If that’s the case, encourage your kid to find happiness in outdoor activities. For example, get a pet dog and ask them to take him for a walk, or do some hula hoop swirls out in the garden with your naughty little kid. If they feel bored, get them to perform household activities such as walking the dog, car washing, or cleaning the yard. You can even ask for their help in daily gardening to ensure they stay active and fit (4). Going outdoors and outside, even for some time a day, will improve their physical and mental health.

6. Spend time with family

Family time is important, especially for a growing baby. Dinner is often the best time for the entire family to sit down to eat and talk. This way, your kid will be less prone to snacking and grabbing the wrong foods, enjoy time with their parents, and connect to them better. Make sure everyone unplugs and is off their devices so that they can enjoy quality family time together around the table.

7. Read everyday

Reading helps your kid succeed in school and work.

Image: IStock

Dread the bedtime stories your little kid gets all excited about? Several studies have revealed how helping your child read, and reading out to him could help develop strong reading skills and may help your kid succeed in school and work (5).

8. Have a bath

Every once in a while, your kid may make a lot of fuss about getting into the bathroom and having a bath- it’s always best to have some cute bath bombs, soaps, shampoos and toys handy. The general idea is to make regular activities a fun time for your kid, until they grow older (6).

protip_icon Did you know?
Bathing removes our dead skin cells and unwanted odor. It relaxes our bodies and makes us fresh as well.

9. Ditch the soda

It is shocking how younger children today are falling prey to unhealthy eating habits, and several studies have found that soda consumption is on the rise in kids. Make sure your kid sticks to preferably water to keep themselves hydrated.

10. Stay active

Drop your kid’s habit of lying down on the couch for too long right in the beginning- couch potatoes are more likely to be overweight and have a higher risk of being affected by developmental problemsiA set of developmental abnormalities in physical, learning, language, or behavioral abilities. and may also put in a poor performance at school (7). Thus encourage your kid to go out more often and get a breath of fresh air.

11. Brush your teeth

Dental hygiene is vital. Kids ought to realize the importance of brushing their teeth everyday right from their childhood. They tend to snack a lot, so they need to have their teeth clean to prevent the occurrence of cavities. For this, kids must brush twice a day using less-fluoride toothpaste to fight decay and cavities in their teeth. Also, kids should not eat food after brushing their teeth at night (8).

12. Sleep well

Your children should go to sleep at the same time everyday.

Image: IStock

Kids within the ages from 6 to 12 require at least 9 to 12 hours of sleep at night to maintain their health. Your children should go to sleep at the same time everyday; regular sleep patterns can help them to be more attentive in classes, stay in a better mood during the day and build immunity. For small kids, having a story time or a favorite doll near them would help them sleep peacefully (9).

13. Dab on the sunscreen

Planning an outing at the beach during the summer? Thirty minutes before you leave home, apply a branded and preferably parabeniA group of preservatives that are commonly used in drugs and cosmetics. -free sunscreen lotion on your kids, as it will help their skin to stay free from all kinds of infections. Make your kids wear the lotion during the peak summer hours from 10am to 4pm or organize indoor activities to help them stay indoors and have fun (10).

Habits For Parents To Note

Here are some healthy habits that parents can inculcate for their kids’ well-being.

14. Schedule their vaccination

Make sure you maintain up-to-date records of your child’s vaccination. Check with your doctor to make sure that you offer your kids the right shot at the right date for prevention of diseases. Keep the immunization records handy to carry it during the next appointment with the doctor (11).

15. Avoid keeping reptiles as pets

Some reptiles have harmful bacteria called salmonellaiA bacteria that typically result in food poisoning and is present in the gut. residing in their body, which can be fatal for your kids. Do not allow your kids to have lizards, turtles or snakes as pets, even if they are of harmless breed.

16. Focus on limiting screen time

Kids love to watch their favorite cartoon show, their favorite match or film for many hours together. But this is not a good idea as it can harm their eyes and deprives them of their sleep and makes them prone to various infections. Have a fixed time for such activities and tell them you would be lenient occasionally if they promise to maintain the schedule every day (12).

17. Take them for health checkups

Preventive care is essential to maintain your child’s health. Your kid’s health must be checked regularly every year and opt for annual dental check ups to prevent teeth issues and gum problems in kids or to minimize the risks associated with it. Select the right hospital for your family’s needs and stick with it to build a good history with your child’s doctor.

protip_icon Point to consider
Regular health checkups help in diagnosing if there are any ailments. Early detection allows for faster medical care and recovery.

18. Take care of their mental health

Keep a track of your kid’s activities to detect any issues.

Image: IStock

Though all parents strive to fulfill all their kids’ needs, most of them pay less attention to their mental health. If your kid has a medical condition or if you have troubling domestic issues, then it can affect their mental health. Stay in touch with their teacher and keep track of the activities to detect any problems at an earlier stage (13). If you are worried, raise your concerns to school staff or your child’s pediatrician, who can help connect you with the right professional help.

19. Encourage them to stay positive

Parents are the first teachers of children. Display positive behavior so they can look up to you as a role model. Help them reframe their negative thoughts into positive ones by letting them focus on the good aspects. Encourage positive self-talk in your child by letting them speak with affirmations, which instills a sense of self-confidence (14). Moreover, foster a sense of gratitude in them by encouraging them to thank for all the positive aspects of their lives.

20. Teach the use of safety equipment

Your kids must know how to wear the seat belt while traveling in the car, wear goggles while in the swimming pool, wear a helmet while riding the bike or while practicing skating. This would help to prevent them from getting injured even if they meet with an accident.

21. Guide them to read food labels

Involve your kids in the shopping process at an early age. Make it fun and interactive by explaining to them what the key terms are on the food labels. Keep them informed about ingredients and calories. Make them understand their nutrition goals and help them to choose foods with potential nutrients. Also, teach them to check the expiry date of any food product so that they may not consume any rotten or expired products.

22. Help them to clean their genitals

If you have boys, educate them on how to clean their genitals using water while making sure that the foreskin is not retracted. If you have daughters, teach them the right way of using a tissue to wipe, which is from front to back and not vice versa. Teach them to come to you if they have any pain or burning sensation in there (15).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is adopting healthy habits important for children?

Adopting healthy habits from childhood is essential since it protects the child from diseases, helps develop their social etiquetteiA set of norms on how to interact and behave with with family, friends, and society in general. , and makes them grow into responsible and healthy adults.

2. What are some good habits children should follow in school?

Some good habits that children should follow in school are washing hands, flushing the toilet after use, staying polite to others, greeting friends and teachers, and focusing on the assigned task or class.

3. How can parents limit their children’s screen time, and what are the potential risks of excessive screen time?

Parents may establish clear and consistent rules regarding screen usage to limit children’s screen time, set screen-free zones or times, encourage alternative activities such as outdoor play or hobbies, and model healthy screen habits. Excessive screen time may have potential risks, such as sedentary behavior, sleep disturbances, reduced physical activity, impaired social skills, decreased academic performance, and exposure to inappropriate content or cyberbullying. Parents must strike a balance and promote a healthy and well-rounded lifestyle for their children.

4. What role does physical activity play in a child’s health, and how much exercise should kids get each day?

Physical activity is crucial to a child’s overall health and well-being. It helps promote healthy growth and development, strengthens muscles and bones, improves cardiovascular fitness, enhances coordination and motor skills, and supports mental health and cognitive function. According to guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), children aged 5-17 should engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. This can include running, cycling, sports, active play, or structured exercise programs. Regular physical activity is vital for children’s healthy lifestyles (16).

5. What are the benefits of establishing healthy habits at a young age?

Establishing healthy habits at a young age brings a multitude of advantages. It sets the foundation for lifelong well-being, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and promotes physical and mental health. Additionally, it enhances personal development, leading to improved academic performance, increased focus, and better self-esteem, resulting in a higher overall quality of life.

6. How can parents encourage their children to eat more fruits and vegetables?

Parents may encourage their children to eat more fruits and vegetables by being role models, making it fun through creative presentations, and involving them in meal preparation. By offering various options and making them easily accessible, parents can help instill a positive attitude towards healthy foods. Patience and persistence are key as children may take time to develop a liking for certain fruits and vegetables.

Healthy habits for kids are essential because they go a long way in defining their personalities and protecting them from illness. Therefore, it is your responsibility to encourage children to learn age-appropriate healthy habits. For example, not skipping breakfast, washing themselves after they come home from outdoors, leaving the toilet clean, bathing every day, and many other habits should be a part of children’s education. These habits, if inculcated consciously, become a part of children’s routine and ensure their overall well-being and growth.

Infographic: Health Tips For School-Going Children

Parents play a vital role in ensuring their child’s safety and good health while at school. Read through this infographic to learn about some essential tips that could help keep your child healthy and safe at school.

habits for kids to inculcate (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Responsible parents must teach good habits to their children to instill discipline in them from a young age.
  • Children should learn the importance of healthy meals, reducing unhealthy drinks, personal hygiene, self-care, and being organized.
  • Parents should teach their children to limit screen time, play on the playground with friends, and spend time with family.
  • Children should prioritize mental health, get enough sleep, and take care of their safety.

Good habits are important for kids to learn. This video will teach kids different good habits and how to avoid bad habits.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Kaitlyn M. Eck et al.; (2019); The “Motor of the Day”: Parent and School-Age Children’s Cognitions Barriers and Supports for Breakfast.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6765899/.
  2. Handwashing: A Family Activity.
    https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/handwashing-family.html
  3. Coughing and Sneezing.
    https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/etiquette/coughing_sneezing.html
  4. Playing Outdoors.
    https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/playing-outdoors
  5. Read It Again! Benefits of Reading to Young Children.
    https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/publication/read-it-again-benefits-reading-young-children
  6. Personal Hygiene for Children.
    https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/personal-hygiene-for-children
  7. Tips to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight.
    https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/children/index.html
  8. Children’s Oral Health.
    https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/childrens-oral-health/index.html
  9. Shalini Paruthi. Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine on the Recommended Amount of Sleep for Healthy Children: Methodology and Discussion.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5078711/
  10. Sun Safety.
    https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm
  11. Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child.
    https://www.hhs.gov/immunization/get-vaccinated/for-parents/five-reasons/index.html
  12. Screen time and Children.
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000355.htm
  13. Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/child-and-adolescent-mental-health
  14. Encouraging a Positive Attitude in Kids.
    https://cosmickids.com/five-simple-ways-to-raise-a-positive-child/
  15. Personal hygiene for children: in pictures.
    https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/health-daily-care/hygiene-bathing/personal-hygiene
  16. Physical activity
    https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity#:~:text=Children%20and%20adolescents%20aged%205,physical%20activity%2C%20across%20the%20week
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Dr. Holly Schiff is an experienced clinical psychologist with around nine years of experience in the field. She did her Doctorate of Psychology in School and Community Psychology from Hofstra University and graduated from Fordham University. Furthermore, she holds a Master of Arts in Psychology in Education degree from Columbia University, a Master of Science in School-Community Psychology, and an...read full bio