Good habits follow your child throughout their lifetime, so it is never too early to instill its importance to your child. In fact, introducing these habits into their lifestyle earlier on makes it easier for your child to incorporate them into their daily life. Encouraging your child to do these three things every day can help them develop the foundation for a happy, healthy, and successful life.
1. Healthy Eating Habits for Kids: Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
Inspiring your child to make healthy food choices every day can be a difficult, uphill battle since they are surrounded by fast food, sugary treats, and soft drinks regularly. However, it is essential to embed healthy choices within your child's lifestyle. Encourage your child to choose water over sugary drinks by keeping them outside the house and setting an example yourself. Soft drinks provide no nutrients and can also add calories that lead to weight problems in the future.
Healthy School Lunch Ideas:
Many nutritionists, including Hillary Wright from the Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, encourage incorporating at least 3 of the five food groups: Grains, Vegetables, Fruit, Meats/Poultry/Legumes, and Reduced Fats. However, beyond food groups, the key to making healthy eating enjoyable is by considering your child’s preferences. By understanding what your child enjoys, and finding a healthier alternative, or including your child in the lunch-making process, you are bound to be more successful in making sure your child is consuming their nutritious meal.
Here are some quick and easy ideas:
Physical Activities for Kids:
Furthermore, help your child avoid a sedentary lifestyle by making physical exercise a family activity and keeping the activities fun and engaging. Children should have at least 60 minutes of exercise each day as physical exercise not only keeps them strong and healthy, but it also helps improve their mood, self-esteem and do better in school. From enrolling or engaging in traditional sports, to incorporating simple toys like balloons for a “keep the balloon up” game, or playing music for an upbeat dance party, there are a plethora of ways to make exercise fun.
2. Age Appropriate Chores for Kids
Your child might be able to do more than you think. Two to three-year-olds can put their toys away, dust their rooms or put their clothes in the hamper, while six to seven year old can set the dinner tables, sort laundry and make their beds. Finding age-appropriate chores not only helps make your life easier, but more importantly, teaches your children the meaningful lessons of responsibility and independence.
As Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Stanford University Dean and author of How to Raise an Adult says, "By making them do chores ... they realize, 'I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life.”
3. Read More Books
Developing strong reading skills is a crucial component of school readiness and lasting academic success in the future. Many studies have shown that children exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well when they reach their period of formal education. Beyond cognitive and academic benefits, reading can also help build up a child's self-esteem as well as strengthen their social and emotional development. According to a New York University study, reading to very young children is linked to decreased levels of aggression, hyperactivity, and attention difficulties. With its lifetime benefits, it is essential for your child to read at least 15 minutes each day. Encourage your child to read by allowing them to pick books they like. Also, make reading experiences engaging by interacting with your child–discuss what you read, ask questions, and make recommendations.