10 Activities to Establish Positive and Healthy Habits in Students
People are far more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle when they form positive habits at a young age. Of course, we all need guidance in order to form these habits early on. While we know that moderation is the key to health as adults, we are much more fixated on instant gratification as children. Planting seeds that grow into healthy long-term habits is important for our youth. From good eating habits to exercise to healthy socialization, positive youth development can have long-lasting effects on the next generation. Here are 10 activities that can help establish personal wellness and healthy habits in students, now and long into the future.
1. Make Exercise Fun
Getting plenty of exercise is important for children and adults alike. Start this healthy habit early on through after-school activities and other exercise opportunities. While exercise is a chore for many, children can be positively exposed to the idea of getting enough exercise through friendly competitions.
Make exercise fun and make games out of seemingly boring exercise routines. Take children out on walks, play a game of catch with them or try new activities that stretch their physical ability. Seeing adults exercise can encourage children to take on the same habit, which can lead to positive youth development and wellness.
2. Take Up After-School Activities
After-school activities provide students opportunities to meet new friends, grow in their community and learn new things. Organized sports are a common way for students to spend their time after school. Music classes or other programs are also available and provide students with a healthy and safe environment where they can be themselves and develop healthy habits and relationships. Find an after school activity near you and sign your child up for something new this school year.
3. Prioritize Sleep
Encourage your child to prioritize sleep. While enough sleep is especially important as a child, this healthy habit can have lasting effects well into adulthood as well. Many people struggle with establishing healthy sleeping habits as they begin working after school. Talk to your child about the importance of sleep and how it can benefit them in the long run. Set an example of prioritizing personal wellness by going to bed at the same time they do. Even if you aren’t sleeping at the same time they do, you can get into a healthy habit and settle down for the night, too.
4. Cook Together
Eating habits are yet another area to target with your child. One way to promote positive eating habits and personal wellness is to sit down with your student and create a menu together. Discuss what foods promote wellbeing and healthy growth, and talk about how to incorporate those into your daily diet. Follow through by going grocery shopping together, and let them find ingredients and food for your meals. Then, cook together! This is a fun bonding opportunity and helps your child see the entire process of a healthy meal, and they can enjoy the food much more. Promote a healthy eating habit by including your child in the conversation and making them aware of certain foods and ingredients and ways to cook with them.
5. Invite a Friend Along
No matter the activity, encourage your child to invite friends along with them. Whether this is going out for after-school activities, playing games inside or cooking, including a friend is an excellent way to build community, develop lasting relationships and learn new things. There are many social benefits to including friends in daily activities, including challenging existing thought systems, as well as receiving accountability and feedback from peers. Especially if you are trying to establish healthy habits in terms of exercise or eating, having another person doing the same activities as you can improve your success rate.
6. Follow Curious Trails
Encourage students to ask questions and, furthermore, to explore their curiosities to find the answers. Rather than simply giving them an answer — or worse, brushing them off altogether — give your student the tools and encouragement they need to fuel their curiosity. This mental and creative habit will stick with them throughout their lifetime, backing them with a constant desire to learn more and find creative ways to have their questions answered. While Google is certainly a great resource, encourage them to find other ways to answer their questions, including through experiments, interviews or books. Curiosity is a lifelong, healthy habit that can produce quality leaders and citizens down the road.
Personal wellness and positive youth development don’t always directly relate to the students themselves. In fact, students will benefit more by focusing on others more than themselves. Volunteering with your children will promote a larger sense of community, showing kids that they can make a real difference in the lives of those around them. Selfless giving through volunteering your time is an excellent way to establish lasting habits that give back.
8. Go to the Library
Your public library is an unsung hero, full of free resources available to all in the community. Many children love visiting the local library and learning about the world around them. Take your students to the library regularly, and show them everything that is available to them. Continue to feed their curiosity, and help them find topics and books that interest them. They will begin to develop a fondness for the library, and they will eventually develop a healthy habit that brings them back to this place of perpetual learning.
9. Visit a Park
Another great after-school activity — or weekend activity — is to visit a local park. Minnesota is home to hundreds and thousands of beautiful parks that offer plenty to do. From walking trails to playgrounds to lakes, there is much to do in the Twin Cities that encourages healthy habits of visiting the great outdoors, meeting community members and getting fresh air and exercise.
10. Try New Things
Encourage your child to try new things. This is a scary thought to many — children and adults. Trying new things can be uncomfortable, but it is the best way to learn and grow. Starting this habit early on eliminates the scariness and hesitancy that comes later in life. Grow with your child and try new things at every opportunity. Who knows? You just might love it.
Bonus Tip: Sign Up for An Activity Through JP4
Your children can learn life-long positive wellness habits that make a difference in their lives, now and in the future. Starting these habits early on helps plant important seeds that will harvest as they grow up. Through after-school activities, summer camps and other opportunities with the JP4 Foundation, your child can experience the encouragement and healthy habits necessary for a lifetime of wellness and growth.
If you are interested in giving your child the tools they need to grow and develop at all stages of their life, consider signing up for an after-school activity with the JP4 Foundation. Contact us today to learn more.