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Children are curious about the world, and childhood is the best time to teach healthy habits. Developing good habits early in life can help your little ones lead a healthy life that continues as they grow. You can help your children develop healthy habits such as healthy eating, exercising, good hygiene, and preventing the spread of germs.
New Year, New Resolutions!
Every January, we make new resolutions for our health. What’s even more exciting than improving your health this year, though, is that you can use the new year to help teach healthy habits to your little ones as well! They use their curious eyes to look up to you, so the new year means a new chance to lead your little ones on a path to a healthier lifestyle as they follow in your footsteps.
It’s no secret that eating a balanced, healthy diet is important for both you and your children. But it’s also important to teach your children healthy reasons for wanting to eat a balanced diet. You can teach healthy eating habits to your children in the following ways:
1. Talk About Food in a Positive Way
Avoid talking about how food can affect weight and the way your body looks because this can damage their self-image. Instead, talk about how good food is for the body, and reinforce that certain foods will help their body grow and function better. For example, explain that an apple is a sweet snack that also has vitamins and nutrients, while a candy bar may not give their body the same goodness — even though it tastes good.
When you prepare or eat meals with your little ones, talk to them about how food has the following benefits:
- Improves energy
- Helps the brain function better
- Strengthens memory
- Helps us to stay in a positive mood
- Fights sickness
- Makes our bodies feel good and strong
2. Eat Balanced Meals
As a parent or grandparent you likely have experienced that children are sometimes hesitant to eat healthy foods or try new things. However, they are more likely to try healthy foods when they see you eating them, so it’s encouraged to eat balanced meals together as a family. Eating healthy together teaches them that it may be something new, but that doesn’t make it scary.
A balanced meal includes healthy protein, vegetables, whole grains, fruit, healthy oils, and water. Half of the plate should include fruits and vegetables while protein and whole grains should each make up a quarter of the plate. Include healthy plant oils in moderation, and drink plenty of water.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so eating a balanced breakfast can give your kids a great start to their day. Healthy proteins such as eggs or nuts can help your kids feel full longer, and healthy whole grains like whole wheat, oats, and quinoa are rich in fiber and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are packed full of nutrients, fiber, and minerals to make your little ones feel good throughout the day.
Consider the following healthy, tasty breakfast ideas:
- Scrambled eggs with veggies like spinach, tomato, or bell peppers
- Oatmeal with a side of fruit
- Yogurt parfaits with fruit and granola
- A smoothie with fruits and veggies blended in
- On-the-go breakfast burritos with eggs and veggies
They also make children’s nutrition shakes in tasty flavors for those kids who may not be hungry or doesn’t like to eat in the morning. You and your kids will have a great start to the day with a well-balanced breakfast.
3. Involve Your Children in Meal Prep
Children love to help, and if you involve them in the preparation process of meals they will be excited to try the healthy foods they put hard work into making. Organize your kitchen and pantry into categories such as proteins, veggies, fruits, grains, and snacks. Encourage your little ones to choose different foods from each category to practice preparing a balanced lunch and build their decision-making skills.
Just like eating healthy, our reasons for exercising should be based on overall health rather than body image. Talk about exercise positively and encourage your kids to be excited about physical activity habits in the following ways:
1. Talk About How It’s Good for the Body
Remind your children that exercise keeps their muscles and bones strong. Exercise strengthens the heart and prevents conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also makes people feel happy due to the endorphins the brain releases during physical activity.
2. Model Good Exercise Habits
Your little ones look up to you, so modeling good exercise habits will help them to develop their own exercise habits. Make exercise a regular activity, and talk about how good it makes you feel. Show enthusiasm when you exercise and encourage your kids to join you. Another easy and fun way to include exercise into your everyday life is to use it as a form of transportation by walking or biking with them to school instead of driving.
Also, be sure to encourage exercise as a celebration of what the body can do, rather than a punishment for eating unhealthy foods.
3. Make Exercise Fun
You can make exercise fun for your kids by gifting them fun things that they can use for exercise, such as roller blades, soccer balls, ice skates, jump ropes, skateboards, and bicycles. Make exercise extra fun while on vacation by trying new activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, or snorkeling. When kids discover fun activities that they enjoy they will associate exercise with having fun.
Another way to encourage kids to get their bodies moving is to make exercise a social endeavor for your kid by planning activities with their friends and family. Group style activities also teaches them the accountability method of exercise while they are young: They can hold themselves and their friends accountable for moving their bodies daily. Some group activities may include:
- Go on a hike
- Join a family sports team
- Embark on a neighborhood walk
- Take trips to the community pool
Improving Sleep Habits
Good sleep habits prevent sleep disorders, promote healthy sleep and improve daytime alertness. Help your children maintain the same bedtime and wake time every day, even on weekends, and help them to associate their bed with sleep and only sleep. As easy as it is to read a book or play on their tablet before sleeping, avoid bringing any activities into the bed. Using the bed for anything other than sleep can subconsciously teach your child that the bed is for more than just sleeping.
If your child has trouble sleeping, encourage them to leave their bed and do something that isn’t stimulating until they feel tired again. They could read a book that they find boring or do another calm activity. This practice will prevent them from associating their bed with sleeplessness. They can also snuggle a soft blanket or stuffed animal. The Soft Landing darling duos come with a stuffed animal that is perfect for snuggling at bedtime.
A predictable bedtime routine with relaxing activities such as calming music or bedtime stories can help your little ones ease into a sleepful state. Mindfulness activities such as deep breathing or guided meditation are also helpful.
It’s important that your child gets the amount of sleep that’s appropriate for their age. Preschoolers ages 3-5 need approximately 10-13 hours of sleep per night while school-age children ages 6-13 need about 9-11 hours of sleep.
Improving Oral & Bath Hygiene
Oral hygiene is important, and it can be fun for your little ones to learn. You can create a brushing chart or print one online and reward your little ones with stickers each time they brush their teeth. You can even help them become excited to brush by giving them the opportunity to earn bigger prizes like toys if they brush twice a day for a whole week.
You can also make flossing fun by having them practice with playdough. Place playdough in the crevices of an upside-down ice cube tray, and encourage your little ones to remove the playdough using a pipe cleaner. Bathing and showering can also become fun habits for your little ones. Use bath paints or other bath toys to make bathtime fun and something they look forward to.
Keeping Germs Away
In today’s world it is more important than ever to help children develop healthy habits to prevent the spread of germs. Always cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue to model the correct behavior for your little ones. When you see them about to cough or sneeze, you can remind them to cover their mouth and gently lead their arms toward their face if they need help.
Make sure to positively reinforce them when they remember to cover their mouth on their own. You can say, “Thank you for covering your mouth when you sneezed! You stopped germs from spreading,” or something similar. You can also make this habit fun by cutting a tube sock to fit as a sleeve on your child’s arm. Draw a monster-like face on the sleeve and encourage your child to feed the germ-eating monster when they cough or sneeze.
Celebrate Healthy Habits With Soft Landing Toys
Celebrate your little ones’ healthy habits this year with toys and high-quality furniture from Soft Landing. Our Luxe Lounger Character Cushions and Sweet Seats Character Chairs are perfect for snuggling up and resting after an active day of exercise.
Let your little one snuggle up with a comfy blanket or pillow from our Everyday Escapes character bedding and room decor collection for a good night’s sleep, or reward them for practicing good hygiene habits with a fun character rocker from our Joyrides collection.
At Soft Landing, we are passionate about bringing joy to kids’ everyday lives with soft, fun characters for lounging and playing. Celebrate your child’s healthy living habits by creating a room that they love with items that are sure to delight.
Shop our collection of furniture, characters, and room decor today!