Parents can help their children develop healthy habits early in life. This will bring lifelong
benefits. As a parent, you can encourage your children to learn good habits that may include
good social skills, good manners and also help them evaluate some of their food choices and
physical activity habits. It takes time to acquire a habit, so parents need to be patient with their
children. Repeating a behavior or action on a daily basis will help your child inculcate it more
Here are some tips and guidelines to get you started.
Be a Role Model:
One of the best ways to develop good habits for children is by setting a good example
yourselves. Your child learns by watching your everyday behaviors and habits. Hence it
becomes important for you to exhibit the best so that he imbibes the same.
It’s never too early to start finding good habits for children. Encourage your child to use phrases
like Thank you, You’re Welcome and Excuse Me. Teaching them these phrases at a young age
will help them make them a part of their lifestyle.
Physical activity is more than just organized sports. It can include everyday activities like
walking the dog, planting a garden, playing tag, building a snowman, and even household
chores like sweeping or shoveling the driveway.
These days children spend a lot of time indoors in front of the television or playing video
games. Children who are not active enough are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases.
Encourage your child to stay physically active by letting them choose the activities they enjoy.
This could be swimming, biking or just running outdoors. Staying physically active as a child will
eventually become a part of them as they grow older.
Encourage Family Bonding:
Family time is extremely important for a growing child. Plan times for everyone in the family to
get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek
outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together.
Set Strong Ground Rules:
As a parent, it is extremely important for you to set down rules for your children. Now is the
time to make a routine and time table. Set out fixed hours for playtime, homework and screen
time. Try to make a flexible routine and don’t be too strict while allocating time for study and
play. Keep adequate time for playing as play helps in both physical and mental development.
Encourage A Healthy Diet:
Probably the most important aspect of growing up is to encourage your child to make healthy
food choices. Your child will adopt good habits if they start early. Educate your child about the
importance of having a nutritious diet and encourage them to read food labels. The whole
family will learn what is good for their health and will be more conscious of what they eat. It’s a
habit that helps change behavior for a lifetime.
Reward Your Child:
It is a great idea to reward your children for their good behavior. This will keep them motivated
and will help them maintain their best behavior at all times. However, a key point to note here
is to avoid rewarding your child with materialistic things like chocolates or an hour of TV. Find
other ways to celebrate good behavior. Make the rewards intangible – a hug, a word of
You can reward your children with good experiences. This will help them learn that happiness
lies in enriching experiences rather than worldly possessions.
No matter how busy you may be in your day to day work and chores, you must make it a point
to be involved in your child’s life. Make sure you are updated about how their day was, the kind
of friends they have, and how they are doing at school. It is a great idea to have a short chat
with your children after they come back home from school – it will also keep you updated on
your children’s emotional status.
Family dinners are an excellent way to inculcate the habit of healthy eating in your children. If
the family sits together for dinner, your children are less likely to consume unhealthy foods and
will be more in touch with the family. It also nurtures the feeling of bonding in them.
Encourage Reading Books:
Reading out stories to your child from a book makes a significant difference. Good literature has
an effective way of inspiring children to behave in a correct manner, to follow a code of
discipline, and to maintain a positive outlook in life. A habit of reading will be great in the long
run for your child’s intellect as well.
Be Realistic With Your Expectations:
Encourage children to learn from their mistakes. Setting realistic goals and limits is key to
adopting any new behavior. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in your
habits over time, so start small and build up. As parents, you have to realize that all children
learn at their own pace.
Children do not like to hear what they cannot do, so tell them what they can do instead. Keep it
fun and positive. Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. Celebrate successes and help
children and teens develop a positive self-image in the process.