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Instilling healthy habits in children

Page history last edited by Laura Poe 12 years, 10 months ago

First Author: Hillary 

Second Author: Kelly T.

How to Instill Healthy Habits in Your Children


"By the time a child is between two and four years old, her eating habits are largely shaped. If she reaches the age of five without learning about healthy eating, the chances of her developing poor nutritional habits and attitudes are significantly increased."[1] 


To begin, remember, when teaching children healthy habits it is important to lead by example.


 Lets look at some all-around healthy habits to teach to young children.



 Hand Washing: simple and easy way to avoid infection, colds and flu bugs


     Encourage your children to wash their hands: 


  • before preparing food, setting the table, or serving food

  • before eating meals or snacks

  • after visiting a bathroom

  • after sneezing or coughing into their hands

  • after blowing their nose

  • after handling money

  • after playing with a pet[2]



Staying Physically Active:

Engaging young children in fun physical activity is the key to keeping them repeatedly active.


The American Heart Association recommends "all children age 2 and older should participate in at least 30 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities every day that are developmentally appropriate and varied".[3] 


  • Physical activity should be increased by reducing time spent watching television, playing computer video games or talking on the phone.

  • Parents should try to be role models for active lifestyles and provide children with opportunities for increased physical activity.[4]

  • Try many different physical activities that kids will enjoy such as, roller skating, bicycling, swimming, ect. 

  • Do a variety of physical activity and allow the child to decide which ones he or she enjoys most, and then do those regularly. 




Healthy Eating Habits: 

It is important to encourage healthy eating habits by involving the whole family and not singling out the child. Your child will not be likely to stick with healthy food choices if you do not follow them consistently. 


  • Fill your kitchen with healthy foods and snack choices

    • this will help your child make healthier choices 

  • Encourage children to eat slowly 

    • they will be more aware of when their hunger diminishes

  • Discourage eating meals or snacks while watching T.V. 

    • While distracted, children are less likely to notice the feelings of fullness

  • Plan snacks to avoid constant snacking

    • Continuous and unplanned snacking can lead to overeating[5]


Read food Labels!!


Look for Foods with: 

  • High grams of dietary fiber

  • High amounts of Vitamin A

  • High amounts of Vitamin C

  • High amounts of calcium and iron



Avoid Foods with:

  • high grams of fat

  • saturated fat

  • trans fat

  • cholesterol

  • sodium [6]


Watch this video on how to get more information on a healthy diet for your child:


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 Still Curious? View this video for more quick tips in a instilling a healthy lifestyle in your child:

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  1. http://www.sesameworkshop.org/healthyhabits
  2. http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0109/d-famt.html
  3. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4596
  4. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4596
  5. http://children.webmd.com/guide/kids-healthy-eating-habits
  6. Fahey, T. D., Insel P. M. & Roth, W. T. (2009), Fit & Well: Core concepts and labs in physical fitness and wellness. McGraw-Hill, New York: New York. (pg.251)

Comments (2)

Jackie M. said

at 4:40 pm on Dec 1, 2008

The first step to keeping your kids healthy is being health yourself! Great info!

Jessica Scott said

at 3:02 am on Dec 3, 2008

I found this article to be helpful because I do want to be a mom someday and I want my kids to be very healthy! I found out what kind of foods to get and which to avoid! lots of helpful information!!

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