As a parent, you are your child's first teacher. Starting at a young age, there are many habits that you can instill in your child so that they will want to make healthy choices later in life. If possible, try to start teaching good habits before your child begins school as many habits are reinforced by teachers and others who work with your child.
Healthy Food for the Body
One of the habits that might be a bit difficult to instill in your child is eating healthy foods. Try to make choosing foods that are good for the body fun and exciting by creating dishes that are attractive to your child. You can also hide vegetables and fruits in meals that you make until your child is ready to enjoy the foods without other ingredients.
Proper Care for Teeth
When you teach your child to brush your teeth in the morning and at night, you're teaching proper oral care that can end up preventing cavities from developing when your child is an adult. Play music while brushing your teeth so that your child knows how long to brush, rinse, and floss. Take your child to the dentist at an early age so that a relationship can be developed between your child and the people who work there. According to Avery Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend establishing a "dental home" for your child by the time they are 1 year old.
A habit that you might not think about would be proper table manners. You want to teach your child how to use eating utensils and how to sit at a table whether it's at home or at school. Practice by setting a table that your child might see at a restaurant, teaching about how to talk quietly and how to eat without making a mess.
Healthy Bathroom Habits
As a parent, you’re responsible for potty training your children. This responsibility extends beyond independent use of the bathroom. The habits you teach your child now will follow them for the rest of their lives—especially for girls. Potty Genius reminds parents to teach girls to wipe from front to back since wiping in the other direction could lead to infection. Beyond wiping, teach your child to always wash their hands.
Exercise is one of the important habits that you can instill in your child over many others. Your child should spend at least a few minutes outside playing or inside doing something constructive and that involves movement instead of sitting around and playing video games or watching television. Lead by an example by exercising with your child, teaching about how the blood flows through the body, and how the body needs exercise to build strong muscles.
Your children won't know about healthy habits in life unless you teach them. Start with simple things, such as brushing the teeth and going to bed early. Try to make any habits that you teach exciting so that your child wants to continue doing them even when they are older.