April 24, 2013

3 Health Habits to Teach Your Children

It is never too late to replace old habits with new ones, but ideally, good health habits should begin early in life. If you’re a parent to young children, encourage them to follow these three simple but powerful health practices in their daily routine.

All of these will require some discipline and example-setting on your part, but the health rewards will be so great they are totally worth your time and energy.

Brush twice a day. People who only brush once a day are a third more likely to develop tooth decay. And countless studies have shown how bacteria enter the bloodstream through an unhealthy mouth, causing infections and even heart disease.  If your children develop the habit of twice-daily brushing, they will likely follow it throughout life. Flossing at least once and cleaning the tongue with a steel scraper are other important ways to keep the mouth fresh and infection free.

Practice good posture. Walking with a slouch, reading sideways in bed, or sitting slumped in front of the TV are habits that form early in life and are often ignored. As you grow older, they become hard to get rid of, causing poor eyesight, neck and shoulder problems, headaches, and fatigue later in life. Teach your kids to hold their body upright. While you’re at it, do the same yourself. (See: 10 Exercises for Better Posture)

Meditate often. Research studies show that children benefit greatly from meditation; it helps them focus and behave better. Established early in life, daily meditation is perhaps the single most important habit that will help your child become a more balanced, kinder individual. You don’t need to learn or teach a formal way of meditation. Simply sit down in silence in a clean, well-lit place with your children, and ask them to close their eyes and think happy thoughts for a few minutes. This simple daily practice will also forge a stronger bond between you.

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