Card image cap

Health & Wellness at Home: Evidence-Based Activities to Help Children Develop Healthy Habits

As parents and caregivers, we have the opportunity to foster positive habits that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In this scholarly blog, we will explore evidence-based activities that can help children develop healthy habits within the home setting.

Active Play and Physical Activity: Engaging children in active play and regular physical activity has numerous benefits for their overall health. According to research published in the Journal of Pediatrics (2018), active play helps children develop fundamental movement skills, improves cardiovascular fitness, enhances bone health, and reduces the risk of obesity. Encourage children to participate in running, jumping, skipping, and playing sports. Set aside dedicated time for active play each day to ensure they meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity.

Family Meals and Nutrition Education: Family meals provide an excellent opportunity to promote healthy eating habits. Research published in Pediatrics (2018) suggests that regular family meals are associated with higher consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as lower intake of sugary beverages and fast food. Involve children in meal planning and preparation, and use this time to educate them about the importance of balanced nutrition. Teach them to make healthy choices, such as opting for fresh fruits as snacks or including colourful vegetables in their meals.

Mindful Eating Practices: Encouraging children to practice mindful eating can help develop a positive relationship with food. Mindful eating involves attention to internal hunger and fullness cues, savouring flavours, and enjoying meals without distractions. Research in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (2019) indicates that mindful eating can promote healthier eating behaviours and reduce overeating. Encourage children to eat slowly, chew their food thoroughly, and be aware of their body's signals of hunger and fullness.

Home Gardening and Food Education: Engaging children in home gardening activities offers multiple benefits for their health and well-being. Research in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2017) suggests that children who participate in gardening tend to consume more fruits and vegetables. Involve children in planting, tending to, and harvesting small garden or container plants. This hands-on experience increases their knowledge of plant-based foods and fosters a sense of responsibility and connection with nature.

Limiting Sedentary Behaviours: Excessive screen time and sedentary behaviours are associated with negative health outcomes in children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time to no more than two hours per day for children aged 6 and older. Encourage children to engage in alternative activities that promote creativity, physical movement, and cognitive development. These may include reading, puzzles, arts and crafts, and imaginative play.

Sleep Hygiene: Adequate sleep is essential for children's growth, cognitive development, and overall health. Research published in Sleep Medicine Reviews (2020) emphasizes the importance of establishing consistent bedtime routines and creating a sleep-friendly environment. Set a regular bedtime, ensure the bedroom is conducive to quality sleep (e.g., cool, quiet, and dark), and limit stimulating activities before bed. Encourage children to wind down with calming activities, such as reading or listening to soothing music.

Promoting health and wellness at home is a shared responsibility that can have a profound impact on children's lifelong habits. By incorporating evidence-based activities into their daily routines, parents and caregivers can help children develop healthy habits related to physical activity, nutrition, mindfulness, screen time, sleep, and more. Remember that a supportive and nurturing home environment lays the foundation for healthy behaviours.

As we strive to create a healthy home environment, let us prioritize open communication and lead by example. Engage children in meaningful discussions about the importance of health and wellness, involve them in decision-making processes, and celebrate their efforts towards developing healthy habits. By fostering a positive and empowering atmosphere, we can inspire our children to embrace a balanced and healthy lifestyle that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Seize the opportunity to transform your home into a haven for health and wellness. Through evidence-based activities and consistent support, we can help our children develop healthy habits that will set them on a path towards a vibrant and fulfilling future.

[Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.]