This month, let’s take a closer look at the Physical Development Domain, focusing on the development of healthy habits.
Helping children learn healthy habits early contributes to a long and happy life! The best way to learn healthy habits at any age is through hand-on, practical experiences. These experiences should show children the benefits of healthy habits and help them learn to incorporate these practices into their lives.
Here are some great ways for you to promote healthy habits at home:
- Give your infant lots of opportunities to move, stretch, and practice strengthening their upper body and leg muscles. This lays the groundwork for enjoying exercise throughout the child’s life.
- Start using a high chair for mealtimes. This will give your child more independence while they eat.
- Introduce your child to new food textures.
- Make sure your child sees you enjoying exercise. If something is important to you, it will become important to them.
- Don’t force your child to eat foods they don’t like or to “clean their plate.” Instead, provide multiple healthy options for your child at mealtime. Make sure at least one or two of these options are foods that your child does like. Even if your child will not eat one of the options, continue to offer it. It can take up to 15 exposures to a food before a child will like it.
- Be active and play with your child to show that exercise can be a fun, social activity.
- As you prepare dinner, allow your child to have a say in what you make. For example, allow them to choose what vegetable or starch you’ll be eating.
- Turn off the TV during mealtimes. This will ensure eating does not become mindless and provides a great opportunity to talk to one another.
- Provide guidelines for healthy practices like washing hands and brushing teeth. For example, sing the ”Happy Birthday” song together twice to show your child how long to wash or brush. You can also put a little reminder on the mirror so your child does not forget to do these activities.
- Have your child help you write your shopping list. Ask them what fruits and vegetables they want, then ask how and when they are going to eat them. This will help your child to practice meal planning.
- When your child is playing with friends, encourage them to be active and to play outside if possible.
- Prepare dinner with your child and as you cook, talk to them about the different benefits of eating healthy foods.
Here are some great resources about how to support healthy habits at home:
Next month we’ll focus on Language Development.
Miss the most recent article in our series? Read it here.