Habits to kick, habits to keep
Establishing healthy living for kids can be tricky, given that junk food and overstimulating entertainment are freely available. If you teach your kid how to take healthy actions regularly, though, these become healthy habits that your kids are likely to keep.
4 Important eating habits
The food we eat can have a profound impact on our physical and mental wellbeing, so establish these food-related healthy habits for kids early on:
- Drink eight glasses of water daily
Make water your child’s go-to thirst quencher. Drinking eight glasses of water daily ensures lost fluids are replenished. Sugary drinks are unhealthy, though moderate intake of fresh, unsweetened fruit juice is fine.
- Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables daily
Make sure your child eats a variety of vegetables and fruit daily. Plant-based food of different colours contains different nutrients, so ensure your child eats as many colours of fruit and veg as there are colours in the rainbow as often as possible.
- Eat breakfast daily
Breakfast is the most crucial meal, as it provides energy for the day and boosts metabolism. Making breakfast a family affair will encourage your child to continue eating this important meal independently.
- Prefer whole grains
A good amount of fibre is essential for digestive health and there are vital nutrients in the outer layer of a grain of wheat. Supplement refined wheat dishes such as pasta with whole-wheat alternatives at breakfast and suppertime.
4 Healthy Lifestyle Habits
- Staying active for 1 hour or more daily
Minimize the amount of time your kid spends on the computer or playing video games. Encourage walking and pursuits that engage the body and the mind as much as possible.
- Staying safe at all times
Teaching your child about safety and security (such as wearing protective fear when in the car or bicycling) is one of the best things you can do to ensure your child ongoing good health.
- Following good hygiene
Teach your kid the importance of good hygiene habits, from hand-washing to brushing teeth. Teach your kid to wash hands with warm water and soap after using the bathroom, before and after a meal, and after playing with the family pet. Also teach that brushing teeth at least twice a day wards off cavities.
- Getting enough sleep
School-going children require at least 10 hours of sleep nightly, for good immune function, energy and alertness. Explain why sleep is important and make sure your child’s room does not contain things that could tempt late nights.