Black father and little girl brushing teeth together

Habits are hard to break. That’s why the sooner in life we build good, healthy habits, the easier it is to keep them and stay as healthy as possible. And when good habits are in place, it’s easier to resist bad ones.

The most important thing to remember is that you are your child’s role model. Your habits affect your children’s habits.

If your habits are unhealthy—smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or always expecting the worst, for example—your child is more likely to get those habits.

If your habits are healthy—eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, looking forward to tomorrow, for example—your children are more likely to build those habits in their own lives.

Here are four areas where you can help build good, lifelong habits for your child.

  1. Healthy eating.
    Help your child learn healthy eating habits, how to make healthy snacks, and ways to make healthy choices when you eat out.
  2. Regular physical activity.
    Encourage your child to find activities that are right for their lifestyle and personality. You could also find ways to be active as a family.
  3. Staying safe and healthy.
    Teach your child how to take good care of his or her teeth, how to sleep well, and how to prevent injuries from sports and other activities.
  4. Healthy thinking.
    Help your child build a healthy body image, self-esteem, and social skills. You can also help them learn how to cope with stress and avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.