4 Healthy Family Habits to Influence a Child’s Life

Father doing some yoga in the living room while son sits on his back and mother and daughter watch on laughing

Healthy habits learned as children often stay with us adults. For a child, their first and most important teachers are their parents and carers. Leading by example, and making healthy changes together as a family, will give your child the best possible start to life. Here are 4 healthy family habits that will influence your children to make positive health choices in the future:

Eat together

Children learn what’s ‘normal’ from their parents, including food and meal time habits. To model healthy eating habits, families can:

Be active together

When your child sees you take part in regular physical activity, they are more likely to view it as a normal part of their own lives. To get more active, try to:

Family of 4 riding bicycles while wearing helmets

Reduce sitting and screen time

Our bodies aren’t designed to sit for long periods – we need to move to stay healthy. Find screen-free ways to be together as a family, like physical activity and active play. Families can also benefit from monitoring how much time is spent on screens, and agree on whole-of-family rules and limits.

Family of four going on a family walk

Follow a sleep routine

It’s not just about children’s sleep – parents need a good sleep routine too. When the whole family has a good sleep pattern, everyone will have the energy to follow through on other healthy habits, like being active and eating well.

Young girl (toddler) napping on a trundle bed at daycare

Change starts with a single step

It’s ok to start small. As a family, choose what you’d like to change and plan how you will do it. Set a goal as a family – you can use this goal setting template – and work together to achieve it. When this change becomes a habit, the whole family will feel more confident to take on the next change.

Remember that it’s not about being perfect, because nobody is! Small changes add up to a healthier you – and a healthier future for your children.

Content developed by Children’s Health Queensland (2019).