Habits are hard to break. That's why the sooner in life we build good, healthy habits, the easier it is to keep them and stay as healthy as possible. And when good habits are in place, it's easier to resist bad ones.
The most important thing to remember is that you are your child's role model. Your habits affect your children's habits.
If your habits are unhealthy—smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or always expecting the worst, for example—your child is more likely to get those habits.
If your habits are healthy—eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, looking forward to tomorrow, for example—your children are more likely to build those habits in their own lives.
Here are four areas where you can help build good, lifelong habits for your child.
- Healthy eating.
Help your child learn healthy eating habits, how to make healthy snacks, and ways to make healthy choices when you eat out.
- Regular physical activity.
Encourage your child to find activities that are right for their lifestyle and personality. You could also find ways to be active as a family.
- Staying safe and healthy.
Teach your child how to take good care of his or her teeth, how to sleep well, and how to prevent injuries from sports and other activities.
- Healthy thinking.
Help your child build a healthy body image, self-esteem, and social skills. You can also help them learn how to cope with stress and avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.
You could choose an area to focus on. Or browse to see what interests you.
- Feeding Your Child Using Division of Responsibility
- Healthy Eating: Cutting Unhealthy Fats From Your Diet
- Healthy Eating for Children
- Healthy Eating: Helping Your Child Learn Healthy Eating Habits
- Healthy Eating in Children: Things That Influence Food Choices
- Healthy Eating: Making Healthy Choices When You Eat Out
- Healthy Eating: Making Healthy Choices When You Shop
- Healthy Eating: Starting a Plan for Change
- Quick Tips: Adding Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet
- Quick Tips: Healthy Eating on a Budget
- Quick Tips: Making Fast, Healthy Meals
- Quick Tips: Making Healthy Snacks
Regular physical activity
- Exercise and Physical Activity Ideas
- Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
- Fitness: Choosing Activities That Are Right for You
- Fitness: Staying Active When You Have Young Children
- Fitness: Teaching Your Child to Stay Active
- Fitness: Walking for Wellness
- Helping Children With Disabilities Stay Active
- Physical Activity for Children and Teens
- Quick Tips: Fitting Physical Activity Into Your Day
- Quick Tips: Getting Active as a Family
- Quick Tips: Getting Active at Home
- Quick Tips: Getting in Shape Without Spending Money
- Quick Tips: Staying Active in Cold Weather
- Quick Tips: Staying Active in Hot Weather
Staying safe and healthy
- Basic Dental Care
- Child Safety: Air Pollution
- Child Safety: Pets
- Child Safety: Preventing Child Abduction
- Child Safety: Preventing Drowning
- Child Safety: Streets and Motor Vehicles
- Health and Safety, Birth to 2 Years
- Health and Safety, Ages 2 to 5 Years
- Preventing Children's Injuries From Sports and Other Activities
- Protecting Your Child From Infections
- Protecting Your Skin From the Sun
- Quick Tips: Helping Your Child Stay Safe and Healthy
- Quick Tips: Using Backpacks Safely
- Safer Sex
- Sleep: Helping Your Children—and Yourself—Sleep Well
- Talking With Your Child About Sex
- Teenage Sleep Patterns
- Teen Dating Violence
- Well-Child Visits
- Bullying: How to Help Your Child Who Bullies
- Helping Your Child Avoid Tobacco, Drugs, and Alcohol
- Helping Your Child Build a Healthy Body Image
- Helping Your Child Build Inner Strength
- Helping Your Child Build Self-Esteem
- Helping Your School-Age Child Learn About the Body
- Help Your School-Age Child Develop Social Skills
- Recognizing and Developing Your Children's Special Talents
- Stop Negative Thoughts: Choosing a Healthier Way of Thinking
- Stress in Children and Teens
- Stress Management: Helping Your Child With Stress
- Stress Management: Managing Your Time
- Tips for Parents of Teens
Making small changes over time can help you reach your goals.
- Brushing and Flossing a Child's Teeth
- Child Car Seats
- Dealing With Today's Teen Issues
- Good-Health Attitude
- Growth and Development, Ages 1 to 12 Months
- Growth and Development, Ages 11 to 14 Years
- Growth and Development, Ages 12 to 24 Months
- Growth and Development, Ages 15 to 18 Years
- Growth and Development, Ages 2 to 5 Years
- Growth and Development, Ages 6 to 10 Years
- Healthy Attitudes Toward Food and Exercise
- Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
- Helping Kids Handle Peer Pressure
- Mind-Body Wellness
- Social Connections