Helping Young Children Build Healthy Habits
Most kids between five and twelve years old are ready to learn healthy habits. And it’s a great age to teach them, too. That’s because kids who build healthy habits are likely to keep those habits as adults.
But parents and caregivers know that getting kids on the right track isn’t always simple. That’s why we collected the resources on this page (below). They’ll guide you on the path to five important habits, and help give the kids you love a healthy, happy life.
Most kids are naturally interested in food. Young kids like to touch or smell new foods, while some children may jump right to tasting. All these approaches are hints that a child is interested in their food.
Building upon this interest is a great way to teach kids about nutrition. Start by teaching them to name the foods they see at the grocery store. As they grow, involve them in putting groceries away or basic cooking tasks like stirring or washing vegetables.
Here are some more ways to teach kids about good nutrition.
Helping Kids Maintain a Healthy Weight
Breaking Your Grade Schooler’s Unhealthy Food Habit
How to Encourage Kids to Embrace Healthy Eating
Healthy Eating: Helping Your Child Learn Healthy Eating Habits
Healthy Eating: Making Healthy Choices When You Shop
Whether playing with friends or learning at school, a child’s body needs water. Water keeps temperatures normal, brings nutrients to muscles, and keeps waste from building up.
To encourage kids to drink water, pour them a glass with meals and snacks, after school, and during play time. You could also let them pick out a water bottle to carry with them during the day.
Here’s more info to help build healthy hydration habits.
Being active can help kids grow, build endurance, and keep a healthy weight. But it’s not just their bodies that benefit from exercise; physical activity can help kids learn, too.
Experts say that kids should get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This could mean organized sports, free play, or family activities like walks, hikes, or a game of tag. In fact, family activities are one of the best ways to get kids moving. They can be fun, and they help everyone in the family get some exercise.
Here are more tips to help get young bodies in motion.
Easy Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Get Active
Make Fitness Fun for the Whole Family
Physical Activity for Children and Teens
Fitness: Teaching Your Child to Stay Active
Kids lead busy lives these days. And while some kids seem to have limitless energy, school, sports, homework, family time and even playdates can tire them out.
That’s why they need a good, long sleep every night. In fact, most kids ages five to twelve need 10 to 11 hours of it. Sleep helps them fight off sickness, keep a healthy weight, manage their emotions, and stay focused in school.
One of the best ways to help kids get the sleep they need is to stick to a consistent bedtime. Doing so tells a child’s body that it’s time to rest for the night. Other ways to help are to limit screen time, avoid sugary foods and drinks, and have a 30-minute quiet time routine right before bedtime.
Learn more about good sleeping habits below
Sleep: Helping Your Children—and Yourself—Sleep Well
How Sleep Habits Affect Healthy Weight
Kids may not have jobs or bills to pay, but they still have stress. For some kids, it’s because they have busy schedules and little time to relax. For others, school or home life can be stressful. And these days, even our kids are more worried about serious illness than they were in the past.
Whatever the source of stress, kids can learn to respond in positive ways. Below are some resources to help kids manage stress, even when times are difficult.
If your child is struggling, you may want to speak with a behavioral health professional. You may also want to speak with your child’s primary care physician (though you don’t need a referral from him or her to see a behavioral health professional). For helping finding a qualified, in-network behavioral health professional, use MVP’s Find a Doctor tool.
Stress Management: Helping Your Child With Stress