How Parents Can Model Healthy Habits for Their Children

Parents serve as the first teachers for a child. Their teaching doesn’t involve taking classes, rather it includes being a role model, allowing their child to learn from their behavior and form healthy habits of their own. In this article by Enhanced Chiropractic, we’ll explore a list of good habits children can learn from their parents by following their lead.

Eating Healthy

While a child may not be able to comprehend the concepts of macros, calories, and nutritional value of food, parents can teach them good eating habits by involving them in the kitchen. Observing the food being prepared will familiarize them with ingredients, and cooking methods. Once they are old enough to handle tools, you can involve them further by assigning tasks such as cutting, sautéing, and more. You can show them budget-awareness, too, as you look online for well-reviewed, kid-friendly kitchen tools that can get them involved while also being safe. There are plenty of ways that even small children can help. Look for deals on plastic measuring cups with good rubber grips, small stirring and grabbing utensils, and kid-friendly cutlery for older children.

Inculcate the habit of eating at least three nutritious meals a day, namely – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While this may sound obvious, you’ll be surprised as to how many people fail to do so. Following these habits consistently will allow your child to develop a strong understanding of food and nutrition, which will benefit them through life.

Handling Stress

When it comes to stress, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to manage it. Unhealthy ways include trying to avoid the issue, reverting to drinking alcohol, isolating yourself from others, sleeping more than usual, and more. Conversely, the healthy route includes tackling stressors head-on by understanding your emotions, making a plan, and taking actionable steps to address the issue.

Observing you managing stress in a healthy and calm fashion will lead to them modeling the same behavior. This not only will affect their behavior during childhood but also their ability to manage stressors during college, work, and beyond.

Setting Goals

Goal setting provides us a roadmap to achieve our objectives, leading to feelings of self-fulfillment, confidence, and high self-esteem. It can also help to prevent burnout, which is a real struggle for many adults. Model ways to find balance, like setting short, but very focused, work times and then taking breaks. Or planning your day and how you need to prioritize things, and then taking time to reflect on what went well, what you could improve upon, and how you can allot time in different ways.

From a young age, teach your child the art of setting goals and how to meet them. This can include simple objectives such as:

  • Completing their homework each day by 7 pm.
  • Finishing reading a book in 10 days.
  • Earning $25 of allowance by completing 10 chores within a week.

The key here will be to hold your kids accountable for their goals. While there will be times they’ll struggle to meet their goal or even fail, it’ll serve as a valuable lesson preparing them for similar situations they’ll face in the future. By failing within a safe environment created by you, they will have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, develop the skill to set realistic goals, and ultimately follow self-accountability for achieving them.

Engage in Self-Care

There are many ways you can model self-care for your children. Encourage them to do what makes them happy, and what helps them to feel good. Perhaps it’s painting or starting a garden. Or maybe they are musical, and would be interested in taking up an instrument. You can make it a goal for everyone to try new self-care activities and share with the family how they felt and if they’d like to do that activity again.

It is also important to care for your body. Doing stretches through yoga can be a great way to challenge and relax your body. You may also find that massage or chiropractic helps you to feel at your best. Dr. Michael Weiss with Enhanced Chiropractic specializes in helping people with sports injuries, back pain, and migraines, all of which can make it hard to live life to the fullest. Even children can benefit from simple adjustments, as they can help reduce colic, constipation, and other minor ailments.

Pursuing New Skills

Develop the habit of trying to learn something new periodically. This could include a new sport, a music instrument, handyman skills, etc., and involve your child in these activities as well. The goal is to help your child become open-minded about trying new things rather than being content with the limited experiences they have. As they grow into adults this attitude will help them be successful in their personal and professional endeavors.

For example, they would willingly learn new skills to help them land a higher-paying position or be comfortable traveling alone to experience new places and cultures.

Creating a Positive Home Environment

According to research, a child’s home environment plays a key role in their physical and cognitive development. A positive home environment will promote the development of healthy habits, higher self-esteem, and better self-regulation skills.

Here are the steps you can take to create the best home environment for your child:

  • Declutter your space to allow ample free space for children to play, move and be active.
  • If your home lacks sunlight, opt to install windows or skylights. This will allow ample natural light to enter your home, overcoming the need for using artificial lights.
  • Engage your child in stimulating activities throughout the day such as play, reading, studying, etc.
  • As reported by The Sill, houseplants boost creativity, create a positive environment and purify the air of toxins, making them the perfect addition to your home.

Your children observe you all of the time - when you are struggling and when you are modeling healthy behaviors. No one is perfect, and that is important for our kids to see, too. But it’s also important to model for our children the healthy way of managing life. To make the learning process easy for your child, be mindful of your behavior at all times and remain consistent with your actions. And don’t be afraid to talk through your successes and failures together, so you can all learn and grow together.

Contributing Author: Anya Willis

Schedule an Appointment
Post on