For a child, their first and most important teachers are their parents and carers. Leading by example can help your child to build healthy habits for life.
Health habits learned as children often stay with us adults. Making healthy changes as a family will give your child the best possible start to life.
Children learn what’s ‘normal’ from their parents, including food and meal time habits. To model healthy eating habits, families can:
- Eat nutritious foods
- Describe food by talking about flavour, texture, smell and colour – not good or bad, yuck or yum
- Eat together and connect at mealtimes – that means no TV
- Try new foods.
Be active together
When your child sees you take part in regular physical activity, they are more likely to view it as a normal part of their own lives. To get more active, families can:
- Build physical activity into your family’s current routine
- Move and play in ways that you enjoy
- Get moving as a family, for example go for a walk together or kick the footy around.
Reduce sitting and screen time
Follow a sleep routine
It’s not just about children’s sleep – parents need a good sleep routine too. When the whole family has a good sleep pattern, everyone will have the energy to follow through on other healthy habits, like being active and eating well.
Change starts with a single step
It’s ok to start small – as a family, choose what you’d like to change and plan how you will do it. Set a goal as a family – you can use this goal setting template – and work together to achieve it. When this change becomes a habit, the whole family will feel more confident to take on the next change. Remember that it’s not about being perfect, because nobody is! Small changes add up to a healthier you – and a healthier future for your children.