What are the most important healthy habits your kids should carry into adulthood?
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Children develop both good and bad habits at a very young age. For better or worse, your kids will carry many of these habits into adulthood. Luckily, you can set your little ones up for a long, happy life by helping them make good choices early on.
Here are a few healthy habits to teach your kids — and why they’re so important for the rest of their lives.
Establish a routine
Contrary to popular belief, kids love having a routine. When they know what to expect each day, they feel much more secure. More importantly, they’re able to establish good habits and respond well to change. In a constantly changing world, this skill is a good one to have, especially as they transition into adulthood.
While a schedule may seem trivial, the busiest adults know how vital routines can be. Instead of giving in to anxiety and procrastination, they can stick to their daily routine, maintain good habits, adapt to constant change, and do more in less time.
Make time to play
Most parents don’t consider playtime a habit, much less a good or productive one.
However, play is essential to your child’s brain development and an important part of their everyday lives. Through free, unstructured play, they learn to problem-solve, flex their creative muscles, and heal emotional wounds.
Yet, play isn’t just important for kids. It’s also essential for adults. The more you play, the more you’re able to see things from a fresh perspective and find creative solutions to problems at work and home. Making play a habit can also refresh your mind and body, increase energy, prevent burnout, and help you manage stress.
Practice good dental hygiene
Nearly 80% of kids between the ages of 2 and 11 have dental caries in their primary teeth. Another 41% of children between 6 and 11 have decay in their permanent teeth. If left untreated, cavities and decay can cause serious problems like gum disease, abscesses, and even heart disease. Luckily, your kids can prevent these health issues by eating less processed sugar and practicing good dental hygiene.
Prioritizing clean teeth and gums and establishing long-term healthy habits for kids will set them up for a pain-free future and a pearly white smile. Instill good habits by making flossing and brushing part of your morning and night routine.
Eat healthy foods
Everyone knows that a balanced diet is a key to good health. However, many people still experience weight fluctuations throughout their lives, especially during adolescence and early adulthood. Fortunately, those who develop healthy eating habits are less likely to experience excessive weight gain because they’re used to eating whole, nutritious foods.
Help your child embrace a healthier diet by teaching them how to cook. Bring them along to the grocery store and make meal prepping a regular part of your weekly routine. With a little bit of help, your kids will carry these good habits into adulthood.
Limit screen time
Almost half of today’s kids spend 30 hours or more on their phones each week, leaving little time for play and other healthy activities. Eventually, too much screen time can cause attention deficits, stunt language development, inhibit communication skills, and impact their sleep schedule.
Unfortunately, these adverse effects can follow them into adulthood. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to limit screen time and promote social interaction from a very young age. Create tech-free zones in your home and avoid giving your kid a phone until they’re a teenager. Co-watch television and choose media wisely.
Most importantly, set a good example by putting your phone down and giving your kids the attention they desperately want and deserve.
Nix bad habits
Breaking bad habits can take months, if not years. Therefore, it’s best to nip them in the bud before they become problematic. When you notice your little ones making poor choices, offer alternatives that include healthy habits your kids need for adulthood.
Start small and be persistent. One day, you’ll see the fruits of your labor, even if your kids would rather throw a tantrum than eat their broccoli right now.