If you’re a parent who’s struggling to get their child engaged in their daily routines, it might be time to switch things up and bring the fun back into normal everyday habits!
Here are a few tips to get your kids excited about meal times, outdoor activities, and hygiene habits!
MAKE FOOD FUN
Sure, it’s easier and a lot less messy to keep your children out of the kitchen, but by doing so, you’re taking away so many opportunities for your kids to feel engaged before and during mealtime. Let your kids do the safe and simple things, like mixing up ingredients or toasting bread. It doesn’t have to be magical for you, but it can be a delight for them. It’s a chance to gain a healthy appreciation for making their own meals. Find foods that are easy to customize and put together—that make up a well-balanced diet—and get your kids excited about making fun art our of their healthy treats.
If you’ve got a picky eater on your hands, aim for a balance between what they like currently and fuel an openness to try new things. By getting them involved in meal prepping, planning, and grocery shopping promotes the knowledge that they have a choice in what they eat, but that trying new things isn’t automatically a disaster for their taste buds. By having fun with food, you encourage your child to see cooking as something exciting and engaging. You’re giving them the opportunity to try new food types.
BE ACTIVE TOGETHER
Take advantage of more than just your neighborhood playground! Get outside and get moving as a family. By taking short trips into natural spaces, or just taking an afternoon to walk around a museum or the zoo, you can stay active and help your kids enjoy the world around them. Being active doesn’t have to be a chore. An overactive child can be a sure sign that they need to get out and do more to engage their mind as much as their bodies. Activities don’t have to be long, so if you’re on a time crunch, keep outings short, and focus on the enjoyment of time spent together as a family.
You’ll encourage your child from a young age to associate being active with fun and enjoyment.
As with making food fun, make sure that exercise is a team activity. Let your kids take turns picking where the next activity will take place. Make it even more fun by filling a jar up with great locations written on pieces of paper. Let them take a paper out once a week.
BE A ROLE MODEL
The best way to teach a child healthy habits is to do them yourself! It’s never enough to just tell a child to do something, and often times that leads to a fun and exhausting game of, “but why?”. Save yourself time and energy by actually performing those healthy habits around them.
Healthy habits often come hand in hand with fostering a healthy amount of independence. From a young age, your child should be allowed to figure out what they enjoy and what might work best for them. After you’ve established some healthy ground rules, and been a reliable role model for positive behavior, it’s time to see how far they’ve come! Like all things in life, it takes time a repetition to create long-lasting habits. However, there will be a time in your child’s life that you have to cut the cord, so to speak, and have faith that they can continue those habits without you watching.
If you want to ease into this transition of independence, give your child some freedom to make choices that positively impact their habits. On your next visit to the grocery store, let your child pick out their own healthy school snacks, their own toothpaste, toothbrush, and even their own school supplies (within reason of course). By doing this, you’re allowing your child to have a say in how they perform daily habits! It shows them that habits aren’t chores, but can be fun activities to do every day.