Some of the earliest experiences and established childhood habits will shape and influence an individual into adulthood. Therefore, the earlier a parent introduces and establishes good habits during their child’s formative years, the better.
Instilling healthy habits—and nipping poor ones in the bud—is essential for preventing growth, development, or wellness problems. Here are a few habits to pay attention to that can affect the health of your child.
Picky Eating Habits
Most children are so-called picky eaters at some point during early childhood. Why? For many, selective eating is a way to assert independence, which is a natural component of their learning process. However, parents of picker eaters should pay close attention to the scenarios where their child refuses to eat a specific item or new dish. Is there a root cause? Could a positive approach help the situation?
Picky eating can lead to negative consequences or act as a warning sign of a health-related issue. Children’s eating habits evolve as they grow, but there are certain things to watch out for, such as a decrease in weight, excessive crying or fear, or pain or nausea during or after eating.
Oral Health Habits
A variety of oral health habits are common during childhood, including teeth grinding, nail-biting, object chewing, or digit sucking. Pay attention to instinctive finger or thumb sucking habits, which are often a means of self-comfort. This behavior can cause poor side effects if prolonged. Children who frequently engage in non-nutritive sucking habits—especially after their teeth come in—risk altering proper teeth alignment or jaw structure.
Fortunately, concerned parents can rely on numerous methods to stop sucking habits for good and support healthy mouth development. Stopping this habit early on—with effective treatment—can help prevent the need for orthodontal work in the future.
Digital Technology Habits
In today’s digital-savvy era, technology is always at our fingertips. By design, technology is a habit-forming environment. For this reason, the misuse of modern technology is another of the top habits that can affect the health of your child. A dependence on high-tech electronic devices, the internet, and digital media can affect physical health, diminish performance at school, and influence social behaviors.
The use of digital technology is not inherently bad—it’s the daily decisions about screen time that matter. Keep an eye on what variable or meaningful rewards the use of tech gives your child. The digital environment is one that shapes everyone’s behaviors—including adults—subconsciously. Similar to all strengthened habits, breaking dependence and maintaining self-control is possible with the right limitations, guidance, support, patience, and practice.