All parents want to raise well-rounded kids. Other than their physical health, parents want to influence the moral growth, develop a sense of purpose, instil values, and build character in their child. They want their child to grow up to be happy, confident, physically fit, kind, and with a sense of passion.
Here, we look at the 6 essential habits that you should include in your child’s daily routine to positively affect their health, well being and for the development of their personality.
Each day is an opportunity to foster healthy habits in your child.
1. Sound sleep
Early to bed, early to rise..
Put your child to bed early. Lack of sleep or bad quality of sleep can lead to low energy levels during the day. Also, it is more than likely, that this will cause them to become moody. It will affect how they function throughout the day. Plus, getting to bed late can become a habit over a period of time.
It will lead to a vicious circle where your child will fight sleep till it is considerably late in the night and will have trouble waking up on time the next morning. The best way to ensure that your child develops a habit of going to bed early is by creating a bedtime routine early on in their childhood. Get them to freshen up, brush their teeth, change into their night clothes, and then read them a story. Create a quiet environment. No television or music should be allowed during this time.
If they go to bed on time then it will also be easier for them to get out of bed on time in the mornings. Not only that, they’ll wake up happy and full of energy. Their day will be better, and in the long run getting proper sleep every day will be beneficial for their mental, physical, and emotional health.
Eating on schedule.
Much has already been said about children’s dietary requirements in our previous blog so we’ll speak about the other important aspect regarding eating habits. While you focus on the nutrient value of your child's meals, it is also important that you get their meal timings right. Consult a nutritionist to confirm what the best times are for eating breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner.
Follow set meal times every day. Eat at least one meal together as a family every day. Eating together will nourish their soul. Also, kids learn from watching you eat, so this is a great way to get them to eat healthily.
3. Physical activity
Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.
The World Health Organization states, “children and youth aged 5–17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.” For this, they may indulge in sports or any other form of physical exercise.
Physical activity is essential for your child’s bone health and muscle growth. Also, being active uplifts their mood and helps them sleep better. The best way to get them to exercise is to let them choose a sport which is to their liking. Introduce them to many activities and let them choose the one which is of interest to them; they could go swimming, play football or basketball, or run every day.
4. Study time
Set a time in the day for studies. Depending on their age this could be anything from 15 minutes to an hour but set a specific time for when they need to sit down every day for studies. When they’re young you will need to sit down with them and as they get older they can do their homework and school assignments during this time.
Make the study hour a routine for them at a young age so that it becomes a habit for them to spend a fair amount of time every day going over what they learnt at school and/or preparing for their lessons the next day. Just like the bedtime routine, create an environment that is conducive to studying, designate an area, make sure that it is well lit and that it has all the essential study gear that your kid might need.
Engaging in an extracurricular activity in their spare time is important for the development of a child’s personality. Let your child choose an activity that s/he considers fun and interesting. Pursuing a hobby helps children develop new skills and might even help them discover what they inherently are talented at.
It could be reading, gardening, sports, music, art, drama, dance, or something else. Let your little one explore a range of activities and encourage her/him to follow the one that s/he feels naturally inclined towards. For this, it helps to schedule a ‘hobby time’ in their daily routine.
For responsibility and self-reliance.
Children should be assigned some chores at home. Helping around at home helps them learn about responsibility and duty at an early age. Plus, they learn new skills. The point is not to overwork them but to get them to understand what it means to belong to a team and why each team member needs to pitch in.
It might all seem like too much initially, however, as the routine becomes a habit for the children it will get easier for you, and more such ‘healthy days’ will eventually lead to a well-balanced and healthy life for your child.