In order to achieve individual and collective well-being, it is necessary to acquire habits that, although they may seem small, can have a beneficial impact on physical, mental and emotional health. That is why families, supported by the knowledge acquired in the school for parents, should implement and promote healthy habits in the daily routines of the little ones.
In this article, we will tell you what healthy habits for children are. Hand in hand with some examples of them.
Know what healthy lifestyle habits are
As its name indicates and as mentioned throughout this article, healthy habits correspond to positive conducts and behaviors that directly or indirectly impact physical, emotional, or mental well-being. When healthy activities for children are integrated into the daily life of the little ones, it promotes a healthier and happier present and future life.
Through healthy habits for children, space is given for children to learn to take care of them. They will also learn to identify the appropriate strategies and tools to preserve and strengthen their health.
Why is it important to promote healthy habits at home?
The role of parents in the education of children has always been a key part of the process. When parents are properly informed and teach children the importance of these habits, they allow the child to adapt more easily. In addition, they begin a process of social awareness. Said process will stop impacting only adults, also expanding to the children’s peers.
In addition, education on this subject from home will help prevent habits from becoming obligations. On the contrary, its development will become the strength of the child. Strength that will encourage them to enjoy it to the fullest and feel curious and intrigued to continue learning.
Decalogue of healthy habits for children
Here are 10 essential healthy habits for any child:
- Healthy nutrition. At home, children can learn to detect which foods are essential for their nutrition (such as fruits and vegetables) and which others are harmful (processed foods).
- Constant hydration. Drinking enough mineral water will help keep organs hydrated, get rid of toxins, and strengthen cognitive and physical performance.
- Hygiene. This is essential for physical and mental health. Children should know how to brush their teeth well, the importance of washing their hands, bathing daily, among other activities.
- Sleep the necessary hours. It is very important that the little ones sleep for at least 8 hours. This will allow them to rest properly, release tension and redirect their energy to daily activities.
- Encourage and practice physical exercise. With only 30 minutes of physical activity, quality of life is increased and cognitive development strengthened.
- Keep in touch with nature. This component of healthy habits is very positive for improving mental and emotional health. In addition, it is also beneficial for adults.
- Collaborate in household chores. This habit will make children more independent and autonomous individuals. In addition, it will instill responsibility, a fundamental value.
- Bet on emotional intelligence. Children must find moments and spaces to talk about their emotions and learn to regulate and manage them. It is an ideal habit for the adult life that lies ahead.
- Promote reading. Reading interesting tales and stories will help the little ones find a taste for this activity and they will enjoy learning about it.
- Learn new things daily. This will give them cognitive flexibility and adaptation to change. The Luca learning platform bets on this habit through fun learning and constant training of the mind.
How to handle children’s bad habits
Handling children’s bad habits requires patience, consistency, and a positive approach that focuses on understanding and guiding the child rather than punishing them. Children are still developing their self-control and understanding of societal norms, so addressing their bad habits involves nurturing their growth while setting appropriate boundaries. Here are some strategies to effectively manage children’s bad habits:
Communication and Understanding
Start by having an open and non-judgmental conversation with the child about their habits. Understand the underlying reasons behind their behavior. Sometimes, bad habits stem from stress, boredom, or imitation. Listen to their perspective to gain insight into their world.
Set Clear Expectations
Children need clear boundaries. Explain what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior in a calm and simple manner. Clearly state the consequences of continuing the bad habit, making sure the child understands the potential outcomes.
Lead by Example
Children often mimic the behaviors of adults and older siblings. Be a positive role model by demonstrating the behavior you want them to adopt. If you want them to have good manners, exhibit those manners yourself.
Praise and reward good behavior. Positive reinforcement encourages children to repeat actions that earn them praise or rewards. This can help in replacing bad habits with positive ones.
Redirect and Distract
When you catch your child engaging in a bad habit, gently redirect their attention to something else. Offer an alternative activity that captures their interest and helps them shift focus away from the undesirable behavior.
Consistency is Key
Consistency is crucial in breaking bad habits. Enforce the rules consistently across all situations and caregivers. Inconsistency can confuse the child and undermine efforts to change their behavior.
Use Natural Consequences
Sometimes, allowing a child to experience the natural consequences of their actions can be a powerful teaching tool. For instance, if they refuse to wear a jacket, they might get cold. Experiencing the result firsthand can help them learn the importance of certain behaviors.
Provide Constructive Alternatives
Instead of simply telling a child to stop a bad habit, offer them alternative ways to fulfill the underlying need. For instance, if a child bites their nails when anxious, teach them deep
breathing exercises or offer stress-relief toys.
Involve the Child in Solutions
Empower the child by involving them in finding solutions to their bad habits. Discuss potential
strategies to overcome the habit and let them choose what feels most achievable.
Stay Patient and Supportive
Breaking bad habits takes time. Instead of getting frustrated, offer a supportive environment. Encourage their progress and celebrate even small victories.
Avoid Shaming or Guilt
Avoid using negative language that might shame or guilt the child. Focus on the behavior rather than labeling the child as “bad.” This helps them understand that the behavior can be changed.
Seek Professional Help if Needed
If a bad habit is particularly persistent or harmful, consider seeking advice from a pediatrician, child psychologist, or counselor. They can provide expert guidance tailored to the child’s specific situation.
In the journey of helping children overcome bad habits, remember that each child is unique. What works for one might not work for another. Be patient, flexible, and always maintain a loving and understanding approach. Your role as a caregiver is to guide them toward healthier habits and behaviors that will benefit them throughout their lives.
The above are just a few examples of healthy habits that should be considered within children’s routines. To choose some others, we invite you to reflect and take into account the specific needs of both children and families. Remember that they will be the impulse to satisfy them adequately.
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