Good habits taught during childhood help in creating a strong foundation of a kid’s lifetime. It is never too early to start inculcating healthy and good habits in children. I want to focus on starting the difference between good and habits form early childhood. Because, habit once developed, is very difficult to be changed once the child grows up. Here are a few good habits that we must inculcate in our children.
Good Habits that we must Inculcate in our Children
1) Healthy Eating
This is one of the most difficult ones. Though while I am feeding my toddler at hime, we do focus on a healthy and a nutritious diet. But in the future he would love to have junk food and that is the habit which I do not want him to develop. All kids love chips, fries, burgers, soda and chocolates. But they need to understand that healthy food can be tasty too. We need to brush up our cooking skills and create healthy versions of these foods that they love. They must love to eat the real food. We must also teach them the importance of breakfast and that we should never miss it.
2) Early Bedtime
Early bedtime means starting the day early which is good for their health. A child needs to have a good sleep schedule because that helps during the school days. Sleeping early will make him wake up fresh and ready to have a good time at school.
3) Outdoor Play and Exercise
There are so many distractions to keep the kids indoors these days. TV, games etc can keep the children hooked for a long time. They should be encouraged to go out and get some fresh air. Keep a fixed time to go out and play. Physical activity is very important for their growth. Also, playing with other kids helps in social development.
4) Brushing teeth twice a day
Good dental hygiene for kids is very important and it is a good habit to brush their teeth twice a day. If this habit is inculcated since early childhood, it will become a life long.
5) Wash Hands Regularly
Washing hands regularly is necessary to keep the germs away. Kids are prone to catching infections more than adults. They should be taught to wash hands especially after going to the washroom, after coming back from playing or before eating food. When it is not possible to wash hands, they should carry an alcohol free hand sanitiser and use it regularly.
6) Drink Enough Water
Babies don’t need water till 6 months of age. But after that, we should start giving them clean water to sip. That also helps in good oral hygiene and of course keeping them well hydrated. Once they grow up and become active, make sure they drink water regularly throughout the day. They should be taught the importance of hydration and that they should drink water and not aerated drinks.
7) Bathe everyday and Maintain a Good Hygiene
Showers rejuvenate kids and make them fresh for the day or to have a good nights’ sleep. Make it a point that kids bathe one a day or twice on hot days. Apart from that, they should maintain a good hygiene. We should cut their nails frequently. Kids have a habit of putting hands in their mouths. The nails carry a lot of dirt and germs.
8) Reading Habit
It is a good idea to develop reading habits in kids from an early age. You can read them books before bedtime. It can be a part of playtime too. It helps in enhancing your child’s reading and writing skills and at the same time helps in developing their imagination and creativity.
9) Eating with the Family
Family meals are fun and help the family bond. It can difficult to eat with the family on workdays, but make sure you have your meals together over the weekends.
10) Clean up the Mess
Kids love creating mess and throwing things everywhere. Ask them to clean the mess once they are done playing. It is a good habit to encourage them to put their toys back to the toy box. And clean up their rooms. This habit will make them learn the importance of keeping their rooms clean.
11) Do not Litter
Along with teaching them the importance of cleanliness, it important to teach them not to litter. This should be started from home. We must teach them not to throw wrappers etc on the floor. Rather they should throw them in the dust bin. The same thing should be practiced when in a public place. We must look for dustbins and then throw the litter in the appropriate bin. This would help our children grow up into civilised adults.
12) Learn to say – “Please”, “Thank You” and “Sorry”
These are magical words and kids should be taught their importance from their childhood. These words make them look polite and courteous. Again, start using these as early as possible at home, kids imitate what they hear and soon they will understand the importance of each word.
13) Stranger Dangers and Safety
Children should understand that they need to be careful from strangers. Set a few ground rules for making them cautious about strangers. Along with that, kids need to understand the difference between good touch and bad touch. Have good communication with your child so that he does not hesitate to tell about his day at school or at the park.
14) Table Manners
Table manners should be practiced with the kids once they start eating by themselves. Though they will learn as they grow up, but they should be taught the table etiquettes soon.
15) Sharing is caring
This habit should be started at home. Children should be modest enough to share their toys or books. Apart from that, they should be taught how to share the intangible things like feelings and emotions. Once they start sharing with family they will learn hoe to share with their friends and cousins.
We should cultivate the habit of being thankful for everything. This starts with praying twice a day, at waking up and before going to bed. Also before all the meals. Good habits do take time to develop. But if your pray with them, they will learn quickly.
17) Helping Others
We must help others so that our kids learn that too. This would help them to be generous in nature.
18) Limited Screen Time
Being glued to TV all the time makes the kids grow up into couch potatoes and unhealthy. Allow limited screen time and at fixed hours during the day. Encourage physical activities or helping with household chores to keep them busy when at home.
19) Help in household chores
As mentioned above, this would keep them away from TV and phones. Let them help in safe chores in their childhood like peeling peas, or sorting vegetables. Keep them under supervision during their young age. At later age they may help in cooking, laundry etc.
20) Importance of Time
They need to learnt time management from an early age. At the same time, they need to understand the importance of time. They must learn how to prioritise their time and use it efficiently. Punctuality should also be a good habit to be inculcated. That way they would learn to appreciate the time of others too.
Honesty needs to be enforced in the kids from their childhood. We must motivate our kids to speak the truth at all times.
22) Positive thinking
Kids get discouraged when things don’t go the way they want them to. This makes them upset easily. We must inculcate a positive mindset in kids so that they can pick themselves up and work harder.
23) Value of Money
Never give into all the demands of your kids. They need to understand the value of money. Give them a piggy bank to keep their pocket money and help them use that money wisely.
24) Spending time with friends
Encourage your kids to spend time with their friends. Teach them the importance of friendships and how to be a caring friend.
25) Eat less Sugar
Kids love sweets and sugary drinks. They need to understand that sugar has hollow calories and is not healthy. If sugar is discourage from childhood, it would pave the way for a healthy lifestyle.
Some more self explanatory Good Habits,
26) Do not bully others
27) Do not harm animals
28) Importance of having enough sleep
29) Accept defeat
30) Work Hard
Good habits from Parents
As much as we want to encourage good habit in our children, we need to understand that all these habit can be reinforced if the parents practice them too. How can you expect your child to be honest if your are dishonest with him. Children love to imitate their parents and they pick up the habits they see their parents indulging in. So, have a healthy lifestyle and change your habits to healthy ones so that your kids can learn the same from you.
Do not feel sad if the kids resist a few good habits at first. Be patient but do not give up. They would surely learn that you are making them ready for their future.
This blog is a part of my series on A-Z of Parenting, Unlearn the Alphabets after becoming parents and Blogchatter AtoZ.