When to Teach Your Kids About Certain Health Practices

by Mother Huddle Staff
When to Teach Your Kids About Certain Health Practices

Being a parent is one of the greatest joys that life has to offer. Watching your child explore the world, learn about it, and grow into a functioning adult can be an incredible experience. However, it is also one of the most challenging tasks you will ever manage.

Raising kids is not easy. There are sleepless nights, safety concerns, dirty diapers, hazards in the home, and a million lessons to teach them so that they can navigate the world around them well.

One subject that may yield a ton of questions is child health. When your kids are very young, you are in total control of their health practices. You may brush their teeth for them, give them baths, choose what foods they will eat, and encourage them to crawl/walk around. When does it make sense to start teaching them about the importance of being healthy? Let’s talk about some health practices and how you can teach your kids to prioritize them.

Eating Healthy

Babies have no control and no interest in choosing a well-balanced diet. Often, they are going to eat what they want if it tastes good. Sometimes, this includes things that are not food. As they get older, their diets start to diversify as you offer them more options, but they still will not understand what makes one type of food healthy and another one unhealthy. You can start teaching your children about healthy eating as soon as they understand what different foods are. To support this education, there are a few things you can do. Eat meals together, model healthy eating yourself, encourage but don’t force them to eat, and involve them in the preparation process. Kids who grow up with healthy eating habits tend to continue them as adults, so there is no time that is “too soon” to start teaching them.

Brushing Teeth

As soon as those first teeth start coming in, you can start brushing their teeth. Eventually, your children will gain the ability to do this task themselves. It is important to discuss with them why they are doing this every day, or it will be hard to get them to do it consistently, let alone properly. Talk with them about why their teeth and gums need to be cleaned so that bacteria do not collect. Teach them the proper techniques for brushing such as circular motions and time. Invest in a toothpaste with natural ingredients that will eliminate impurities from their mouths. If your child can talk to you and form sentences, they are old enough to start learning about the importance of oral hygiene.

Online Safety

As the kids go through school and start learning more about the world, they will quickly discover the Internet. The Internet can be a super helpful tool for parents, but it can also be a source of fear. How do you ensure your kids stay safe in a digital world where inappropriate content and individuals with bad motives exist? How can you talk about these things without terrifying your child? You can start talking with your child about online safety as early as six years old, especially if they have already started using devices. You may not be able to rely on parental control software forever. Create a plan for how the whole family will engage with screens. Advise kids never to do anything online that they wouldn’t do in person. Go online with your child so you can teach them as they use it. When in doubt, err on the side of talking about things rather than keeping things a secret.


Exercise is one of the most important elements of health. Both kids and adults need to be moving to promote physical wellness, so teaching your kids early about the importance of exercise is critical. This can be done when they are at an elementary school age. First, model exercising yourself and then invite your child to join you. This could be as simple as taking a walk with the dog or playing Tag in the yard. Talk with the child about how your body is something to take care of, especially if you want to be able to play. Try to encourage one hour of physical activity each day, and anything that makes the child breathe faster or sweat is beneficial.

Honesty is the Best Approach

There are plenty of things in this world that the mind of a child cannot handle. Health, however, is typically not one of them. Even if your child will not understand the nuances of skin care or aerobic exercises versus anaerobic workouts, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start teaching them about these practices. As they get older, you can teach them as they adopt these practices. Tell them why online safety is so important as they get older. Teach them how brushing their teeth well can prevent certain diseases that would make things harder for them. Being honest and open about these health conversations will yield a greater understanding within your children of the importance of health.

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