Building Healthy Habits in Kids

Easy tips to shape choices

by Kimberly Baker

Creating healthier habits is possible at every age and stage of our lives, including children. If you’re a parent, your kids are watching what you do and learning the habits you consider important. Here are some healthy habits you can model and enjoy with children!

• Eat breakfast every day for a healthy start. This helps you fuel your body and your brain.

•  Enjoy a physical activity. Movement and exercise should not feel like a chore.

•  Drink more water. Water is the best source for hydration.  Sometimes we think that we are hungry, but we are thirsty. 

• Explore fruits and vegetables while limiting sweets. Expand your child’s taste palate. Be creative and bold in trying new things.

• Sleep the right amount. The guidelines for sleep by the American Academy of Pediatrics for a 24 hour period include:

  • Infants: 12–16 hours
  • Ages 1 to 2: 11–14 hours
  • Ages 3 to 5: 10–13 hours
  • Ages 6 to 12: 9–12 hours
  • Teens: 8–10 hours

• Listen to music. Music can elevate your mood, make you want to dance, and be great for stimulating the brain.

• Experiment with a new food or recipe. Share some ideas with your children, and then let them choose what they want to try.

• Limit screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that screen time be less than two hours per day. Avoiddigital media for toddlers younger than two other than video chatting. For preschoolers, watch with them and choose high-quality programming.

• Practice mindfulness. Learn the value of slowing down and taking things one breath at a time.

• Read an inspirational book. Finding books and stories with positive lessons can inspire you in your own life.

• Talk with friends and family. Being around others can lift your mood, can assist you in developing relational bonds, and help you become more comfortable socially.

• Share a meal with others. Sitting down for a meal allows children and youth a chance to be heard and be seen.  

Tips compiled by Kimberly Baker and inspired by Plan To Get Healthy, a health coaching tool for families created by Church Health in Memphis, Tennessee.

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