In 2017, a family of four spent $26,944 on health, according to the Milliman Medical Index. In 2015, this figure was $24,671. Even though most of this amount is paid through insurance, out of pocket costs are still high, clocking in at just over $4,000.
As a parent, you know only too well how health care costs can eat into your already squeezed budget. The smartest thing to do is to take measures that will reduce your healthcare expenses.
One of the best measures?
Promoting health by teaching your kids good habits. The more they know how to take care of themselves, the fewer trips you will need to make to the hospital.
In this article, we’re sharing the various ways you can develop good habits for kids. But first off…
What Are Good Habits for Kids?
We will split healthy habits into four categories:
- Healthy Eating- Eating a balanced diet, making healthy meals (including snacks), making healthy choices at the grocery store
- Regular physical activity -Being conscious of physical health, exercising on a budget (without hitting the gym)
- Healthy/sound thinking – The ability to make well thought-out decisions, building self-esteem, developing social skills
- Staying safe – Avoiding risky behaviors like underage drinking and unsafe sex, basic oral health practices, handwashing.
1. Lead from the Front
Child development experts say no variable is more influential to a child’s development than his or her immediate environment. For your kids, this means their home and school environments.
While there is little you can do about the school environment, you have all the control at the home. Use this control to develop a domestic environment that helps them develop good habits. Show them what needs to be done by doing it.
For example, if you want your kids to learn that physical exercise is good for their health, you cannot expect them to exercise every day when you’re a couch a potato. Get up every morning and ask your kids to join you for a jog. If you want your kids to eat a balanced diet, lead by example. Don’t expect them to stay away from fast foods when you snack on burgers all day.
Keep in mind, though, the exercise and dietary needs of kids are different from the needs of adults. Ensure you’re letting them do age-appropriate physical activities, and that their intake of important vitamins and minerals is just right.
2. Educate Them About Healthy Habits
It’s one thing to be lead by example, and it’s quite another to sit down with your kids and teach them about healthy habits.
You see, leading by example is a strategy founded in hope. You brush your teeth every morning and do some jogs, hoping your kids will watch and follow suit. Well, sometimes they do, other times they don’t.
This is why it is necessary to teach good habits for kids. Buy kid-friendly books and charts about good habits, and help them understand what they mean.
For example, teach your kids about healthy eating, as well as the dangers of unhealthy eating. Show them pictures of people suffering as a result of unhealthy habits. Teach them about the importance of oral health, benefits of getting – and staying – in shape, and how to make healthy choices.
The more your kids know about healthy habits, the more they are likely to follow the healthy habits you’re setting for them.
3. Get the Whole Family Involved
Here is a simple question.
Do you enjoy your meals the most when you’re alone or when with your spouse and kids? If you’re like most humans, then you enjoy your meals with the entire family. The same applies to other activities.
To help your kids truly enjoy practicing good healthy habits, involve the entire family. Every morning and before retiring to bed, call up the entire family to the common sink and have fun brushing teeth. This is a good opportunity to check who is not brushing or flossing correctly and teach them how to it’s done.
Have some free time on your hands? Grab your bikes and hit the paths! Or kick a ball on the neighborhood’s playground.
In addition to fostering good habits for kids, doing it as a family helps develop their social skills and sense of self-esteem.
4. Offer Good Rewards
As parents, we naturally love rewarding our little ones when they’re on their best behavior, and for good reason. Rewards are a subtle way of saying “keep doing what you’re doing, kiddo.”
However, you should be careful with the type of rewards you give them.
In the spirit of promoting health, give them rewards that will encourage them to continue choosing good habits. Instead of giving a new play station to a kid who has embraced daily physical exercise, how about rewarding them with a Fitbit? This is a techy device that will enable them to track things such as number of steps climbed, quality of sleep and heart rate.
On the other hand, a play station will give them a good reason to spend more time on the couch and less them exercising.
There is no one size fits all for buying the right reward. It all depends on what your child likes, and choosing the best reward that will best promote a particular good habit. Here is where you need to get creative!
The old adage “old dogs don’t learn new tricks” can’t be truer.
If you let your kids develop with unhealthy habits, they will find it very difficult to break away from them as they get older. Consequently, they will be at risk of various lifestyle diseases, including deadly ones like diabetes and cancer. If any such disease strikes, you will need to dig deeper into your pockets to cover their healthcare costs.
Take the opportunity to help your kids develop good habits while they are still young, and they will not depart from them when they are older and on their own.
Even then, as much as promoting good habits for kids can reduce trips to the doctor, health problems do happen. It pays to be prepared with a good health insurance policy.
Get in touch with us today and we will help you sure the best policy for your family’s needs.