Creating Good Habits

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C

 

As we raise and love on our children, we are also creating tomorrow’s adults. And we want those adults to make the world a better place, both the little personal world they will live in, and the big wide world they will inherit. To that end, it is never too early to begin instilling good habits in the hearts and minds of our young ones.

 

Food: The impact of how we instill eating habits in our children is almost staggering. In many ways, their nutrition can set the stage not only for their growth and development today, but also for their health and wellbeing tomorrow.  Not only that, but the food choices made as a family impact the wellbeing of others and even the environment. Begin to teach your child about food choices based on values that are important to you. For instance, do you love local produce or is supporting small business, when you can, important? Bring your children with you to the farm stand and let them pick something out, and maybe even meet the farmer.

 

Home: Even young toddlers can begin to help in the home. While you may need to be at their side, have them help clean up their toys at certain times each day, such as before nap or at bedtime. Allow them to help with simple chores, such as setting the napkins at mealtimes, while you handle the cutlery (until they are ready), and so on.

 

Self: Begin to teach your child from an early age that good self-care helps them feel their best. From brushing teeth, to eating healthy food, to getting enough sleep, and time outside and moving every day if possible, these things add up to good self-care habits that will carry them through life.

 

Others: Young children are capable of empathy, such as showing concern when a friend falls down. This is also a skill that is somewhat developmental, so don’t worry if you don’t see it all the time or when you first expect. The important thing, as with all these good habits, is that you model them consistently, and offer your child the words and actions they will begin to mimic and internalize as they grow.

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