Ways to encourage your kid to create healthy habits
Updated: Oct 4, 2021
By making use of your child’s early years, instil healthy habits that they will carry on with in the future as adults. It is significant that you recognise the benefits of helping your child cultivate habits from as young as two years old. One with good habits will find less trouble in battling over the little things.
Establishing a routine
Create a routine around the positive habit you wish your kids to follow and adopt.
Create a trigger
Communicate to your child regarding the behaviour you expect from him. For example, before eating, for your child to wash his hands with soap before meals. Ensure that your child is listening and understanding.
A bonus would be for you to explain to your child why it is important to wash his hands before meals. If the child understands why he is doing and has to commit to this action, it could be easier for him to cultivate the positive habit.
Keep the routine simple
Start by teaching small and simple habits first, and make sure not to over-complicate the actions. This allows the child to pick up easily and follow. When you have progressed over time where it is easier for your child to pick up on more complex ideas, then you can add more steps to the routine.
Be disciplined and consistent
Be firm about following the habit. For example, ‘no eating until you have washed your hands or made sure that your hands are clean’. This creates a sense of importance on healthy habits
Be consistent in repeating the routine daily. Prompt your child to constantly remind them. For instance you could ask your child ‘What must you remember to do before you have your meals?’. Asking your child what the expected habit is instead of reminding him, will help to form the habit easier.
Incorporate fun into the routine
By creating some kind of fun and laughter into the routine, it encourages the little ones with some form of anticipation and enjoyment. This potentially helps your child to accept the routine and adopt the habit within a shorter span of time.
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Role model the routine
Role model the habits and behaviour you want your child to have. As a parent, you possess the greatest power to influence your child’s actions and behaviour. From the way you speak to how you control your emotions, your little ones are observing intently and adopting those habits into their lives. Role modelling as a parent influences habits and patterns from eating to coping and controlling emotions.
Children will tend to mimic their parents’ behaviour and actions as they absorb and follow the tiniest actions you make. How you intend to help your child cultivate healthy habits will have to first start from you. That's why it's important to walk the talk and practice what you preach.
Integrating positive habits into your life would set expectations and boundaries, influencing your child to mimic the positive actions and behaviour.
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Reward the habit
By rewarding your child in your own ways such as cooking them their favourite meal or even through showing physical affection such as a hug or kiss, you affirm your child on the positive habit that they are undertaking. When your child manages to do the routine successfully, praise your child. When you express happiness and pride when your child remembers and does the routine, your child will take pride in it. It influences the brain to be more convinced on whether the routine is ‘worth’ committing to memory.
The importance does not lie on the reward: rewards are merely temporary incentives to trigger memory of the routine on the first few occasions. Once the habit is established you can simply remove the reward.
At a later stage, when the routine is repeated over and over until it gets etched in your child’s memory, your child would continue to perform the routine even after the tangible rewards are removed.
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Nurture Infant House (Tampines)
At Nurture Infant House, our passion is to love and care for each infant and to provide a safe and interactive environment for infants to learn and grow in body and in mind independently. If you are looking for infant care in Tampines or in East, do visit Nurture Infant House. We have over 30 years of experience in nurturing thousands of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.
If you are looking for a preschool for toddlers and older children in Tampines or in East, do visit Genesis Childcare 1989.
Feel free to book an appointment through WhatsApp. You can visit us at the following venues:
Nurture Infant House (Tampines) (2 to 18 months Infants) Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-61 Singapore 520433
Genesis Childcare 1989 (Tampines)
Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-63/65 Singapore 520433