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Children are the future, so let’s keep the future healthy: this week is Every Kid Healthy Week, an annual observance created to celebrate school health and wellness achievements. The week shines a spotlight on efforts made to improve the health and wellness of children and the link between nutrition, physical activity, and learning.

Memorial Healthcare would like to use this special week’s observance as an opportunity to delve into teaching children healthy habits. Lifelong healthy habits are inculcated at an early age. As a parent, much responsibility falls on you in helping to create a healthy society now and into the future. From evaluating food choices to practicing physical activities, there’s a spectrum of healthy habits to practice and encourage with your kid(s). Let’s break some down.

Be a role model
You know the adage: monkey see, monkey do. Instilling healthy habits among your children begins with you practicing healthy habits. Don’t solely teach habits, participate too. When your kids see you eating right and being physically active, they will definitely notice. It sends the right message.

Encourage physical activities that your kids enjoy
A lot of parents may default into teaching and signing up their kids with the same sports and activities they participated in during their youth. Every kid is different, so encourage experimentation with sports and activities. They’ll eventually find something they truly enjoy and stick with it.

Handwashing
Simple, yet extremely effective. Just try and imagine everything a child touches. You want to make sure you are enforcing this habit so they continue to wash hands when you’re not present, like at school. Teaching them to sing “Happy Birthday” while washing is recommended to ensure they get their hands good and clean.

Dinnertime is Family Time
Encouraging healthy food choices becomes much easier when you are consistently eating together as a family. It curtails poor choices or overindulging on snacks. Better yet, make cooking an activity in which your children are involved. Making them part of the cooking and meal planning process better showcases what it means to make healthy choices.

Monitor TV/Video Game/Computer Consumption
Okay, this could be a difficult one. Sedentary habits can increase risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease. It’s recommended to limit screen time to two hours a day. With the weather increasingly becoming better by the day, encourage some outdoor play time.

Maintaining good health is a challenge, but it’s certainly rewarding. One of the best parts about teaching your kids about making healthy choices is you yourself also become healthier. Here’s to a healthy future!