Teaching Healthy Habits

Text Books and Life Skills

Healthy Habits are many times hard to come by. When I was growing up I can remember my mom hiding the candy in their bedroom, thinking we wouldn’t find it or that we even knew it was there! We could hear the wrappers at night! Now me, I would hide candy in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator because I knew my kids wouldn’t look in there! I still hide them in there today, except I’m the only that goes for them….

In life, no matter what we say, our kids are listening to us. No matter what we do, our kids are watching us, and no matter what we eat, our kids are noticing what we put in our mouth. We try our best to make healthy meals for our children, however, we all know they can be picky! These are building habits for not only our self, but, also with our children. I’m a believer that when we teach our children at a young age is when they truly internalize different messages. They are like little sponges! Not only at an early age, but, also when we are consistent on the choices that we make. If they are introduced to different foods early, and we are fortunate enough for them to like them, they will continue with healthy habits. If not, we need to be creative.

I love these ideas for a monster sandwich, a wizardly wand or princess wand and of course the apple teeth! I eat apples and peanut butter to this day and just loved the added marshmallows. There are so many different ways we can create such fun and appealing snacks and meals for our kids. I’m made fun of to this day as I always experimented on recipes while raising our kids, and one of them was adding wheat germ to everything! Pizza crust was a big one, so, as you can imagine, when I make any kinds of breads or pizza, I am asked, what is in it, or who made this………..not to worry, my heart was always in the right place and we have had many laughs about this chapter and very grateful that it has closed, too!

Here are some easy fun ways to use the good old cookie cutter which is probably in the pantry as we speak:

  1. use holiday ones (heart for Valentines Day, pumpkin for Halloween, etc.)
  2. use everyday ones
  3. use to cut out the good old peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  4. use to cut out a grilled cheese or french toast
  5. use to cut out fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydews
  6. use when making healthy cookies that require to be rolled out

If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it’s a wonderful platform to learn, share and make your own boards of topics that are of interest to you. There are so many fun and doable ideas on there that I hope you’ll check out. It’s where I got mine. https://www.pinterest.com/jonidowney/pins/

Healthy Hippo also has a great Healthy Hippo Resource Book to teach healthy habits to our children, also on Amazon. Plus, an interactive and engaging Healthy Hippo Bulletin Board and Poster Book which makes a wonderful visual to teach these habits and remind children to have healthy habits, also available on Amazon. Decorate a door, a bulletin board or window, just be the reminder our children need to grow into their own good character.

Teaching a child to have healthy habits can be a challenge at times, again, when you are modeling this trait, and you are consistent about them, your child picks up on that. While nutrition is a huge part of being healthy and by making healthy choices during the day and at night will help you and your child to build healthy eating habits, the real benefit is when you notice how much better you will feel from watching your diet. I have family members who are in a chapter where they are vegan. While I’m not a meat eater, I do love my hamburgers and homemade Italian sausage, so this isn’t something for me, however, they swear they feel like a new person, and that’s all that matters.

One healthy habit is brushing our teeth. You brush your children’s teeth when they are little and then simply ask them before bed time, “did you brush your teeth”? This is a prime example, let them see you brush your teeth, encourage them to brush theirs, as well at least twice a day and soon it will become a healthy habit. You become more ‘human’ when a child sees you doing the things that you ask of them to do, whether it’s a healthy habit, a chore, etc. Please keep in mind that they want to be like you. Don’t you remember as a young girl you were going to marry your dad, or as a young boy you were going to marry your mom when you grew up? You are their idol, so please make good choices and they will become fine young people.

The bottom picture is from a visit to a Preschool with Healthy Hippo. I wanted to know if the kids had big muscles and they all showed me their muscles! Explain to them that they must have healthy eating habits because that helps build strong muscles. Explain to them that exercise is an important habit to have and helps build even bigger muscles. Is your child in a sport? If so, they need to try to stay in shape with game practice and game playing. If they are not, I hope you encourage them to play outside when permitted. Or, to take a walk with them, take a bike ride with them, go swimming, hiking, running or skating. Being active is very important for a child as well as for ourselves. My daughter recently has made me join a gym, it’s still new, but, I do enjoy going there to exercise my body.

Finally, while a healthy body and healthy habits are vital, so is having a healthy mind. Trust me, the older we get the more important it is to exercise that muscle! I now know why I see so many elderly people working on crossword puzzles and even puzzles! First a child needs to always do their best academically at school. and they also need to continue that exercise at home. Figure out a topic your child likes, music, let them learn to read and write music. Our book Tune Into Good Character is on Amazon and is fun for that. because there are blank pages at the end of the book for your child to be creative.

If you discover your child likes art, let them be creative! If your child likes to read, bring them to the library often or let them write their own stories and always have books available for them to dive into. If your child likes to talk, listen. Communication is important. No matter what it is that will expand your child’s healthy habits, be in tune to this and help them to grow, to learn and to shine in their own good character. Check out our Activity Book on Amazon  which has an activity to engage your child with each of the characters. Or, how about making a Paper Bag Puppet which is available on Amazon as well. This book has a fun very short story of each character and the pattern to make a paper bag puppet. All you need is the lunch bag, crayons, scissors, glue and your child. If you’re teaching a child about colors and shapes, you’ll surely enjoy our book on Amazon, too called Shape Up With Healthy Hippo which is another creative way to build a healthy mind!

What is the old cliché’, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin,

These my friends, are words to live by.

 

Joni Downey,
Creator & Owner