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Modeling Behaviors to Teach Healthy Habits


By Maria Cannon


Your Kids Are Watching: Modeling Behaviors to Teach Healthy Habits


It's easy to feel like your kids aren't listening when, for the fifth time, you remind them to turn off their screens and do their homework. According to social learning theory, though, teaching your children isn't just about telling them what to do. Your children learn from you in the way people learn best: by watching. Courtesy of Build-A-Project, here are a few ways you can consciously model the healthy behaviors and values you want your child to develop.


Practice Healthy Eating Habits


Parents feel family dinners are important, Hartman Group researchers report, and yet participants in a 2017 study only sat down with their kids to eat dinner about half the time. If you want your children to eat well, you need to show them how it's done.


Eating healthy meals as a family instead of eating behind screens can help your kids develop healthy relationships with food. It can also help to keep junk food and alcohol out of the house altogether, removing the temptation of the cookie cabinet or home bar. As Medium.com explains, conventional wisdom says it takes roughly 21 days to form a habit. In that short time, healthy eating patterns can become natural for your entire family.


Being involved with your children's nutrition can also help them maintain a healthy weight. In a federally funded study focused on weight loss for children, the children who were paired with their own parents did better at developing healthy habits and improving their health than the children who received positive feedback and encouragement from adults who were not their parents. Not only that, but 10 years later, the children with involved parents also continued to succeed at maintaining a healthier weight.


Prioritize Physical Fitness


You don't have to drive a minivan to soccer practice five times a week to keep your kids active, although team sports are a healthy option that many children enjoy. Exercise can be an activity everyone does together, such as walking around the park, riding bikes through the neighborhood or jumping on a trampoline. By making exercise a family activity, you build positive memories that reinforce healthy behavior.


Another option that doesn't rely on good weather or a sports-season cycle is practicing martial arts. This form of training is not just for exercise and self-defense, although those are certainly benefits. Confidence, discipline, and self-control learned while mastering new physical skills can help children maintain healthy habits, even during the teen years when peer pressure is strong and self-perception is often skewed.


Demonstrate the Value of Education


Teaching your children to value education involves homework time, but it also includes showing them how important it is to you to continue your own learning and intellectual growth. You may communicate this through activities such as spending quiet time with books, researching a topic you are interested in, or planning home improvement projects. These can be family activities as well as opportunities for you to model positive behaviors.


Even young children benefit from hearing about the importance of goals and plans. Encourage them to define their dreams and look for ways to achieve them. Talk about your own dreams, too. For example, you may want a new degree to advance your career in teaching, data science, or public administration, and an online postgraduate degree program could make that possible. Watching you pursue your own dreams will help your kids absorb your values.


The moments you spend modeling healthy behaviors and values are quality time that can strengthen your relationship with your kids. Healthy family activities create a lasting impact on emotional health as well as physical health, setting your children up for a lifetime of success.


If your child could use a boost with difficult concepts or a certain subject, connect with Build-A-Project today for a custom-designed, hands-on project to help them grasp the fundamentals and even excel. Reach out today to find out more!

Image via Unsplash


Your Kids Are Watching: Modeling Behaviors to Teach Healthy Habits


It's easy to feel like your kids aren't listening when, for the fifth time, you remind them to turn off their screens and do their homework. According to social learning theory, though, teaching your children isn't just about telling them what to do. Your children learn from you in the way people learn best: by watching. Courtesy of Build-A-Project, here are a few ways you can consciously model the healthy behaviors and values you want your child to develop.


Practice Healthy Eating Habits


Parents feel family dinners are important, Hartman Group researchers report, and yet participants in a 2017 study only sat down with their kids to eat dinner about half the time. If you want your children to eat well, you need to show them how it's done.


Eating healthy meals as a family instead of eating behind screens can help your kids develop healthy relationships with food. It can also help to keep junk food and alcohol out of the house altogether, removing the temptation of the cookie cabinet or home bar. As Medium.com explains, conventional wisdom says it takes roughly 21 days to form a habit. In that short time, healthy eating patterns can become natural for your entire family.


Being involved with your children's nutrition can also help them maintain a healthy weight. In a federally funded study focused on weight loss for children, the children who were paired with their own parents did better at developing healthy habits and improving their health than the children who received positive feedback and encouragement from adults who were not their parents. Not only that, but 10 years later, the children with involved parents also continued to succeed at maintaining a healthier weight.


Prioritize Physical Fitness


You don't have to drive a minivan to soccer practice five times a week to keep your kids active, although team sports are a healthy option that many children enjoy. Exercise can be an activity everyone does together, such as walking around the park, riding bikes through the neighborhood or jumping on a trampoline. By making exercise a family activity, you build positive memories that reinforce healthy behavior.


Another option that doesn't rely on good weather or a sports-season cycle is practicing martial arts. This form of training is not just for exercise and self-defense, although those are certainly benefits. Confidence, discipline, and self-control learned while mastering new physical skills can help children maintain healthy habits, even during the teen years when peer pressure is strong and self-perception is often skewed.


Demonstrate the Value of Education


Teaching your children to value education involves homework time, but it also includes showing them how important it is to you to continue your own learning and intellectual growth. You may communicate this through activities such as spending quiet time with books, researching a topic you are interested in, or planning home improvement projects. These can be family activities as well as opportunities for you to model positive behaviors.


Even young children benefit from hearing about the importance of goals and plans. Encourage them to define their dreams and look for ways to achieve them. Talk about your own dreams, too. For example, you may want a new degree to advance your career in teaching, data science, or public administration, and an online postgraduate degree program could make that possible. Watching you pursue your own dreams will help your kids absorb your values.


The moments you spend modeling healthy behaviors and values are quality time that can strengthen your relationship with your kids. Healthy family activities create a lasting impact on emotional health as well as physical health, setting your children up for a lifetime of success.


If your child could use a boost with difficult concepts or a certain subject, connect with Build-A-Project today for a custom-designed, hands-on project to help them grasp the fundamentals and even excel. Reach out today to find out more!

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