To celebrate the beginning of a new year, we often look for ways to improve our lives through better habits. An intentional shift in routines can positively impact your health, happiness, activity levels, and so much more. The same goes for children! It’s smart to be mindful of habits and their impact to build healthy actions, interests, and rhythms at all ages.
From nutritional meals to gross motor activities, our Grow Fit® program always puts the health of children at the top of our priority list. We encourage parents to continue creating good habits at home too. Try these fun ideas and activities as a starting point:
- Cook a meal with your child. Preparing food together offers so many benefits, such as learning how to collaborate successfully and develop independence. Children can also learn about how to fuel their growing bodies in healthy ways.
- Model good hygiene habits. Get into the routine of proper handwashing by singing your child’s favorite song as they wash their hands thoroughly.
- Try a new type of exercise together. Make physical activity fun and exciting. Try dancing through a Zumba workout or laying a beach towel down to try yoga.
- Start a garden. This doesn’t have to be a spring activity! Start a small herb garden inside that can offer benefits during every season, no matter the forecast.
Sometimes creating better habits means trying to overcome negative behaviors. One very common example of this is biting, especially as young children learn how to communicate and control their impulses. If your child is struggling through this, try these strategies to curb the urge:
- Identify and acknowledge your child’s feelings. Provide them with specific words for how they might feel. For example, “You must have wanted the red car. Biting hurts. Next time, say ‘It’s my turn now.’” Giving your child the exact words to say gives them a greater opportunity of using them in the future before resorting to biting.
- Engage in back-and-forth exchanges. Practice holding a conversation between you and your child. When your infant is making noises, respond to them. You can narrate what they’re doing, ask open-ended questions, or make other sounds to mimic appropriate behavior.
- Expand their vocabulary skills. This will help them understand how to communicate better in all situations. Start by adding a little more to their simple sentences. For example, if your child says, “ball” you can say “yes, the blue ball is bouncing.”
- Give your child the words to use when they’re upset. For example, “I know you are mad because I won’t let you eat ice cream before bed. I understand your feelings.”
- Teach them through games. Play “stop and go” games with your child to encourage the development of self-control. Some games can include:
- Red Light, Green Light
- Frozen Dance
- Red Rover
Utilizing these strategies to encourage positive behaviors will help support your child through many critical stages of development. Healthy habits set them up for success in school, and beyond.