As the pandemic continues to influence how our kids are growing up, it’s important to encourage them in healthy habits, even with the changing environment around them. Experts at the University of Cambridge have found that many kids learn by imitation, meaning they often pick up on the habits and lifestyles they are seeing around them.
Most of this development happens before the age of 9, so it’s crucial to begin instilling healthy habits in your children as soon as possible. However, if you have older kids, it’s never too late to begin the journey to forming healthy, life-long habits. Here are some of the best habits to encourage your kids in.
Keep A Positive Attitude
Displaying a positive attitude to your children while they’re young is a great way to show how keeping a positive mindset can enhance your life. If you’re practicing positivity even when things aren’t going the way you want them, your kids will pick up on that! Pediatrician Kimberly Leek says, “Helping your children develop a positive attitude can greatly contribute to their well-being throughout their lives and help them build resilience.”
It’s easy for children to feel discouraged, especially in this new climate with ever-changing social rules and the pandemic. Positive thinking teaches kids they are lovable, unique and capable of moving forward even when they find challenges in life.
Read As Much As Possible
In the digital age, reading a physical copy of a book has become a rarity. Even more so, reading in general has become significantly less prominent. Listening to books through apps like Audible have taken over the reading industry. Listening to books and continuing to learn through literature is a great habit to have but reading a physical copy is still the best situation for your child.
The more e-Books and “books on tape” your kids are listening to, the more time they’re relying on some form of technology to learn. Reading to or with your child helps to form connections in their brain. The AAP recommends starting at birth and continuing through at least kindergarten. Forming the habit of reading will aid your child in the long run, allowing them to be more educated and have a greater memory. Help them find books they like while they’re young so they learn to find literature they enjoy and learn from.
Physical Activity Is Good For Your Brain
This is an incredibly important habit to teach your children, but one that often gets miscommunicated. While many people recognize participating in physical activity as having physical benefits, the way it influences their brain is far more beneficial.
To combat the rising mental health crisis in younger generations, physical activity should be taught as a way to alleviate stress and anxiety in a healthy, controlled way. Encouraging your kids to participate in physical activity they like will help them find an avenue to increase their serotonin and dopamine levels, which are incredibly important to personal happiness and success.
Let your kids try out various activities, as long as they’re being active and enjoying it!
Limit Screen Usage
Lead by example and show your kids that screen time can be limited. While children are developing, it’s important to limit their screen time to help with their eyesight, memory retention, attention disorders, etc.
Screen time can contribute to a variety of health issues if it isn’t limited. The Mayo Clinic found that children who watch more than two hours of TV a day are at a greater health risk than children with limited screen time. Too much screen time has been linked to behavioral problems, loss of social skills, irregular sleep patterns and other issues.
Showing your kids healthy habits to practice is a great way to be a positive influence and grow closer to your children. By having open and honest communication about things like screen time and positivity, you’re teaching your kids that they can trust you and your influence. Children learn by imitation, so try and showcase attitudes and decisions that will encourage them to begin practicing healthy habits!