5 Healthy Habits for Kids in 2022
Starting healthy habits at a young age can play a big part in helping to build a healthy lifestyle for the future. And what better time to start new habits is there than at the beginning of a new year? These 5 healthy habits can help you and your child start this year on the right foot. Hello 2022!
Limiting Screen Time
It’s no secret that technology has brought us many great advancements. Notably, many of those advancements involve providing children with easy and accessible learning, advanced education programs, and beyond! While technology has a very positive impact on our life and the future, it is important to keep in mind that moderation is key. On average, children ages 8-12 in the United States spend 4-6 hours a day watching or using screens, and teens spend up to 9 hours. (1) Too much screen time can lead to sleep problems, lower grades, less face-to-face socializing, less physical activity, etc. (1)
Set guidelines and model responsible usage to your kids. Creating phone-free zones or times in the home, encouraging outdoor activities, and engaging in conversation with your children are just some ways that you can limit screen time.
The importance of mental health has become more prominent in recent years and we want to make sure that children are also practicing this form of self-care. Childhood constantly brings new experiences and challenges which can cause a lot of stress. Teaching your child to think positively can help them navigate life, build self-esteem, and push them towards success.
Teach children that gratitude is a main factor of positive thinking. Incorporating daily gratitudes can encourage this type of thinking. Each day ask your child what they are grateful for, creating a habit of looking for the good in situations. Of course, setting an example is a great way to teach your child this mentality as well. Avoid negative self-talk and comparisons. When negative situations happen to you or your child, show them the silver lining. This will teach them that with a positive mind anything is possible.
While this is a given, it is easy to let your child sit on the couch watching TV for hours knowing that they will relax and keep themselves busy. Keep in mind that this may impact their mental and physical health in a negative way. Encouraging physical activities can help them develop a better lifestyle and combat childhood obesity, which if not avoided, can lead to damaging health conditions.
One way to do so is to register your child to a sports team. Being a part of a team will create a weekly schedule of planned times for physical activity. Another way to encourage physical activity is to join in! Going on a hike or a walk with your child can inspire them to get moving. Buying active toys or games such as balls, jump ropes, hula hoops and other toys of this nature can also support these efforts.
What we put into our bodies strongly dictates the way we think and feel which is why building good eating habits at a young age is important. A great rule of thumb is to eat a balanced diet that includes carbs, fats, and proteins as well as vitamin packed foods. Studies show that students that eat healthy lunches filled with foods rich in protein, vitamins and minerals are more likely to perform better than students whose diets are heavy in unhealthy foods – such as sweets and fried foods.
For tips, read our article on packing smart foods for lunch click here.
After months of quarantining and social distancing, prioritizing your child’s social life might not be at the top of your priorities, but it should be. While play dates are fun for your children, they also play a very important role in their social and cognitive development. These interactions naturally teach children healthy communication skills such as politeness, social cues, empathy, non-verbal communication, and much more. (2) Social interaction can also build higher self-esteem and confidence. (3)
If you have a younger child, reach out to other parents to coordinate playdates for your children. For older children, encourage them to ask classmates to play at recess or get together outside of school. Additionally, enrolling them in extra-curricular activities also gives them a better opportunity to flourish socially outside of school.