Habits are hard to break. That's why the sooner in life we build good, healthy habits, the easier it is to keep them and stay as healthy as possible. And when good habits are in place, it's easier to resist bad ones.
Your child's habits start with you
The most important thing to remember is that you are your child's role model. Your habits affect your children's habits.
If your habits are unhealthy—smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or always expecting the worst, for example—your child is more likely to get those habits.
If your habits are healthy—eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, looking forward to tomorrow, for example—your children are more likely to build those habits in their own lives.
What follows is help and advice for building good, lifelong habits in four areas:
This American Academy of Pediatrics website has information for parents about childhood issues, from before the child is born to young adulthood. You'll find information on child growth and development, immunizations, safety, health issues, behavior, and much more.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Body and Mind
1600 Clifton Road, MS C-04
Atlanta, GA 30333
1-800-311-3435 (404) 639-3534
This CDC website is for children 9 to 13 years old. It gives kids the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices. There are interactive tools about fitness, safety, disease, stress, and more.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
This Web site has information about things you can do to
help yourself and your family members be healthy. Topics address child
development, physical activity, healthy eating, reproductive health, mental
health, and more.
KidsHealth for Parents, Children, and
Nemours Home Office
10140 Centurion Parkway
Jacksonville, FL 32256
This website is sponsored by the Nemours Foundation. It
has a wide range of information about children's health—from allergies and
diseases to normal growth and development (birth to adolescence). This website
offers separate areas for kids, teens, and parents, each providing
age-appropriate information that the child or parent can understand. You can
sign up to get weekly emails about your area of interest.
Ertem IO (2011). Child development. In CD Rudolph et al., eds., Rudolph’s Pediatrics, 22nd ed., pp. 34–42. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kelly S, et al. (2011). Correlates among healthy lifestyle cognitive beliefs, healthy lifestyle choices, social support, and healthy behaviors in adolescents: Implications for behavioral change strategies and future research. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 25(4): 216–223.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.