13 healthy habits every mother should teach her kids

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Written By Olivia Miller

Author at Montessori Expert.

Raising a child is an incredible journey, and one of the most important things you can do is equip them with healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

These habits go beyond just physical health, they encompass emotional well-being, social skills, and a sense of self-worth.

Just like a strong building needs a solid foundation, healthy habits create a strong foundation for your child’s overall development.

Why Healthy Habits Matter

Inculcating healthy habits early on has a domino effect. Here’s why they matter:

  • Physical Health: Healthy habits like eating nutritious foods and getting regular exercise promote strong bodies, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and boost energy levels.
  • Mental and Emotional Well-being: Practices like mindfulness and getting enough sleep help children manage stress, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and build resilience.
  • Social Skills: Learning healthy habits like communication, empathy, and respect sets your child up for positive social interactions and strong relationships throughout life.
  • Self-Esteem: Taking responsibility for their choices, whether it’s making their bed or finishing a challenging task, fosters a sense of accomplishment and builds self-confidence.

When you prioritise healthy habits, you’re not just shaping your child’s physical health, you’re nurturing them into well-rounded, capable individuals who are ready to thrive in all aspects of life.

Let’s explore some key healthy habits, categorized for better understanding, with practical tips to make implementation easy.

Habits for Building a Healthy Body

a mom and a child preparing a salad in the kitchen

Fueling Up with Nutritious Food:

This isn’t about restrictive diets, it’s about creating a love for healthy foods. Here’s how:

  • Make Fruits and Veggies Fun:

Colourful produce is naturally appealing to kids. Take them grocery shopping and let them pick out a new fruit or veggie each week.

Get creative with presentations! Try rainbow veggie skewers with a yogurt dip for a playful twist, or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of fruits like watermelon or kiwi.

Also Read: 15 Recipes for Kids Who Hate Vegetables

  • Get Cooking Together:

Meal prep can be a fun and educational experience. Involve your child in age-appropriate tasks like stirring pancake batter, pouring ingredients, setting the table, or arranging sliced fruits on a platter.

Not only will they learn valuable skills, but they’ll be more likely to try new foods they helped create.

  • Limit Sugary Drinks:

Water should be the primary beverage for optimal hydration. Invest in fun, reusable water bottles that your child loves to carry around. For added flavor, infuse water with sliced fruits like cucumber, berries, or citrus.

Gradually reduce sugary drinks and offer water as the go-to choice throughout the day.

Moving and Grooving:

Physical activity is crucial for a growing child’s development. Here are some ways to make exercise fun and engaging:

  • Find Activities They Love:

Not all kids enjoy traditional sports. The key is to find activities they genuinely enjoy.

Does your child have a knack for rhythm? Turn on some music and have a family dance party in the living room!

Love being outdoors? Go for bike rides, explore nature trails together, or play tag in the backyard.

Recommended: 300+ Fun & Easy Toddler Activities for Hours of Fun

  • Make it Playful:

Integrate movement into everyday activities. Instead of watching TV passively, do jumping jacks during commercial breaks.

Turn household chores into a game by racing to finish tasks or setting a timer and seeing how much can be accomplished in a dance-fueled cleaning session.

  • Limit Screen Time:

Excessive screen time can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. Set clear guidelines for screen time and offer active alternatives.

Encourage outdoor play, board games, or creative activities like drawing or building with blocks.

Remember, it’s about balance. Let your child unwind with some screen time, but prioritize active play for a healthy body and mind.

Also Read: How To Limit Screen Time For Kids?

Habits for Building a Strong Mind

A healthy body goes hand-in-hand with a healthy mind. Here are some ways to cultivate positive mental well-being in your child:

A consistent bedtime routine signals to your child’s body that it’s time to wind down.

Start by taking a warm bath, reading a calming story together, or dimming the lights for quiet snuggle time.

Avoid screen time for at least an hour before bed, as the blue light emitted from electronic devices can disrupt sleep patterns.

  • Mindfulness for Little Minds:

Mindfulness practices can help children manage stress, improve focus, and develop emotional regulation skills.

Start simple – try short breathing exercises together. Take a few deep breaths in through your nose and slowly exhale out your mouth, focusing on the rise and fall of your chest.

You can also incorporate mindfulness into everyday activities. For example, when eating, encourage your child to savor each bite, paying attention to the taste, texture, and smell of the food.

  • Encouraging Relaxation Techniques:

Finding healthy ways to manage stress is important for everyone, even children.

Help your child identify activities they find relaxing, such as drawing, listening to calming music, or spending time in nature.

These activities can be incorporated into their daily routine or used as coping mechanisms during challenging moments.

Remember when you establish these routines and practices early on, you’ll be equipping your child with the tools they need to manage their emotions, cope with stress, and develop a sense of inner peace.

Habits for Building Social Skills and Emotional Intelligence

two children sitting on a bench eating an ice cream cone

Healthy habits extend beyond physical health and encompass a child’s social and emotional development. Here are some ways to cultivate these important aspects:

  • The Power of Communication:

Effective communication is a cornerstone of strong relationships. Start by actively listening to your child and validating their feelings.

Encourage them to express themselves verbally and non-verbally. Role-playing scenarios can be a fun way to practice communication skills.

For example, act out how to ask a friend to join a game or how to politely say no.

  • Empathy in Action:

Help your child develop empathy by talking about emotions and discussing how others might feel in different situations.

Read books with characters who experience a range of emotions and encourage your child to identify those feelings.

Volunteer together at a local charity or participate in community events to foster a sense of social responsibility and empathy for others.

  • Building Healthy Relationships:

Model healthy relationships yourself. Treat others with kindness and respect, and your child will learn to do the same.

Encourage positive social interactions by providing opportunities for your child to play with friends, join clubs or activities, and participate in group settings.

Help them navigate conflicts in a constructive manner by teaching them to use “I” statements and focusing on solutions.

Habits for Building Self-Esteem and Confidence

a mom and two children standing on top of a mountain with their hands in the air

A strong sense of self-worth is crucial for a child’s overall well-being. Here are some ways to nurture their confidence:

  • Celebrate Effort, Not Just Achievements:

While recognizing accomplishments is important, praise your child’s effort and perseverance just as much.

This teaches them that hard work and dedication are valuable, regardless of the outcome.

  • Offer Age-Appropriate Responsibilities:

Empower your child by giving them tasks they can manage, such as setting the table, sorting laundry, or helping with yard work.

Completing these tasks fosters a sense of accomplishment and builds confidence in their abilities.

  • Focus on Strengths:

Help your child identify their strengths and talents. Encourage them to explore their interests and participate in activities where they can shine.

This positive reinforcement builds self-esteem and a sense of competence.

healthy habits for kids image use for pinterest

When you incorporate these habits into your daily routine, you’ll be nurturing your child’s social and emotional well-being, equipping them with the skills they need to build strong relationships, manage their emotions, and develop a healthy sense of self-worth.

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