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 healthy habits 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.
The Top 20 Healthy Habits For Kids:
To simplify things, here we’ve prepared 20 most important healthy habits list for kids that need to be inculcated into their daily routine:
1. Don’t Skip Breakfast:
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. A nutritious breakfast complete with all food groups will help your kid stay energetic and active throughout the day (1).
2. Wash Up!
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. Toss that Tissue:
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. Flush 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. Get Out:
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. Get them a pet dog and ask them to take him for a walk, or do some hula hoop swirls out in the garden with your little naughty kid. If they feel bored, get them to perform some household activities such as walking the dog, car washing or cleaning the yard. You can even ask their help in gardening everyday to make sure they stay active and fit (4).
6. Family Time:
Family time is extremely important, especially for a growing baby. Dinner-time is often the best time where the entire family can sit down to eat and talk. This way, your kid will be less prone to snacking and grabbing the wrong foods, and will also enjoy time with their parents and connect to them better.
7. Read Every Day:
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).
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).
9. Ditch the Soda:
It is shocking how younger children today are falling prey to unhealthy eating habits, and several studies have found how soda consumption is on a rise in kids. Make sure your kid sticks to preferably water to keep themselves hydrated.
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10. Couch Potato:
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 problems and may also put in a poor performance at school (7).
11. Promote The Habit Of Brushing The Teeth Twice A Day:
Dental hygiene is vital. Make your kids realize the importance of brushing their teeth everyday right from their childhood. Kids tend to snack a lot, so they need to have their teeth clean to prevent the occurrence of cavities. Teach your kids to brush twice a day using a less-fluoride toothpaste to fight decay and cavities in their teeth. Also teach your kids not to eat foods after brushing their teeth at night 8.
12. Make Your Kids Get Good Amount Of Sleep:
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 paraben-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).
14. Stay Updated With Your Kid’s 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 salmonella 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. Limit The 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. Have Regular 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.
18. Take Care Of Your Child’s Mental Health:
Though all parents strive to fulfill all the needs of their kids, most of them pay very less attention towards 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 your kid’s teacher and keep a track of your kid’s activities to detect any issues at an earlier stage (13).
19. 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.
20. Cleaning The Private Parts:
If you have boys, educate them on how to clean their genitals using soap and 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 immediately if they have any pain or burning sensation in there (14).
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 etiquette, 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.
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.
- Kaitlyn M. Eck et al.; (2019); The “Motor of the Day”: Parent and School-Age Children’s Cognitions Barriers and Supports for Breakfast.
- Handwashing: A Family Activity.
- Coughing and Sneezing.
- Playing Outdoors.
- Read It Again! Benefits of Reading to Young Children.
- Personal Hygiene for Children.
- Tips to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight.
- Children’s Oral Health.
- Shalini Paruthi. Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine on the Recommended Amount of Sleep for Healthy Children: Methodology and Discussion.
- Sun Safety.
- Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child.
- Screen time and Children.
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
- Personal hygiene for children: in pictures.