Ever find yourself recognizing some of your parents’ behaviors in the way you behave today? While much of what they taught was hopefully good, chances are high you picked up one or two habits that you wish you could unlearn.
Your child is in the same process of learning habits and behaviors from you that will stick with him or her for a long time to come. How are you doing at teaching them healthy traits and cutting down on the ones you don’t want them to pick up?
Here are the habits your kids are picking up from you and how to set a better standard.
Your oral hygiene.
How often do you take your kid in for a dental cleaning? And how often do you go in for dental cleanings yourself? The more you put it off, the higher the chance of small issues becoming larger ones.
Your casual avoidance of dental visits teaches your child that such appointments are only for when something is hurting. Which is not the case at all. Preventative dentistry will save you from more involved and painful procedures.
Taking your child to the dentist once a year can help establish this as a fundamental aspect of their overall health. But don’t let the oral health care habits you teach end there.
According to 44westdental.com, fluoride treatments are among the services dental offices offer children. They state, “[these are] Offered annually to prevent decay and strengthen enamel in children. Fluoride supplements may also be prescribed for children who drink well water that does not contain fluoride.”
Make sure that you promote brushing twice a day. And while your children are still young (under 6), carefully monitor how they brush their teeth. Even though primary teeth are not here to stay, the knowledge of how to take care of their teeth is being developed at this age. Good dental hygiene habits are something that will stick around, even when baby teeth are lost.
Your behavior toward food and your food choices.
Do you frequently allow your children junk food or snacks high in sugar? What about soda water or fruit juices? Are your meals deep fried and oily? Do you eat at fast food stops 2 to 3 times every week?
The food habits that we are exposed to as children are among the hardest ones to get rid of in later years.
In a study covered by Time.com, researchers noted that the number of fruits and veg that children ate affected how healthy they were 20 years later.
What we eat is not the only thing passed on to our children with regards to food. Pay attention to your attitudes surrounding why you are eating, too. Do you use food as a reward? What about promising ice-cream to help a child feel better? Or to alleviate boredom? Using food in any other way outside of alleviating hunger can cause an unhealthy dependence on food to emotionally satisfy a person. This can lead to obesity and weight gain that can take years to overcome.
It is usually in our late twenties or early thirties that we realize a need for change, and we begin to try to eat healthier. Want to give your kids a head start in healthy eating? Establish a firm foundation of healthy eating right now by serving healthy snacks and whole foods.
Your smartphone or tablet use.
Maybe you wouldn’t consider yourself a smartphone addict, but perhaps you automatically reach for your phone when you have a moment to kill? Do you find your children are the same when it comes to their TV or iPad use?
If you are on the phone at family meals, or while watching a movie or TV show, you are modeling a new kind of “normal behavior” for your children.
The problem with smartphone addiction, or any type of addiction for that matter, is an over-dependence on that item for one’s emotional stability. Your kids are unlikely to have reached this point. But to prevent it from advancing to that stage in a couple years’ time, start establishing some ground rules that everyone in the house adheres to.
For example, meals are eaten without phones or tablets at the table. Or that each device gets one charge per day. Once the charge is out, the device is done until the next day. These and other rules can help to keep smartphone and tablet use to moderate levels.