Healthy habits begin at home, and there’s no better way for kids to pick some up than learning from their own parents. Habits are formed at a young age and are solidified as we grow older, so it’s never too early to start practising some healthy habits as a family.

Things like healthy screen time habits, good sleep practices, keeping active, and eating right are simple ways to get the ball rolling and setting your children up to be healthy and happy as they grow up. Here are five practical tips to get you started on a healthier family life!

1. Healthy screen time

This may be the toughest for us parents too, but the best way to set healthy screen habits is to walk the talk too. That means limiting our own use of our devices at home to model for our kids what healthy screen use looks like. Simple gestures like putting our mobile devices away when we get home and not touching them during family time signal to our children how they should use their own devices.

In general, children below the age of 7 should not have more than one hour of unsupervised recreational and passive screen time a day, while older children still need clear boundaries set for their screen time use to limit time spent and what they do. Games can be addictive so do keep an eye on how much time your kids spend playing them and implement rules for moderation.

2. Eat right

A healthy diet isn't one that is plain, devoid of taste, and difficult to swallow–it can be really yummy too! Eating right starts at home, and it's more than just cutting out the bad stuff like salt, sugar and oil. It's equally important to add food rich in nutrients and different vitamins for a balanced and nutritious diet.

As a family, make it a point to try preparing and eating new dishes together. Also, load up your plate with a balanced mix of food from all food groups that includes ¼ plate carbohydrates like rice or noodles, ¼ plate protein like meat, fish, tofu or eggs, and ½ plate of fruits and veggies, so that your little ones will follow too.

3. Good sleep routines

Kids in Singapore, like their parents, are a sleep-deprived bunch. Most school-going children need at least 10 hours of sleep, with younger children needing even more. Good sleep habits start at home, of course. To help us all sleep better, practices like going to bed at a fixed time every night, instilling relaxing bedtime routines and avoiding mobile phone use during bedtime are instrumental. Creating a conducive sleeping environment that is quiet, cool, and dark also goes a long way to help your children get better quality sleep. And of course, the best part of bedtime for many kids is having mummy and daddy’s calming presence as they drift off into dreamland.

4. Keep active

Model an active and healthy lifestyle for your kids and reap the benefits for all! By consciously choosing family activities that keep everyone on their feet rather than sedentary activities, you're signalling to your children that these activities should be prioritised. You’ll also be helping them grow into adults who enjoy keeping active. There're so many things you can do as a family to keep moving, from park visits to beach games to adventure sports you'll be spoilt for choice really!

5. Learn to relax

Mental health is equally important, and it is your job to show your little ones why and how. We’re happier, learn better, and are more resilient when we’re mentally strong. Life can get pretty stressful, even for kids: school transitions, friendship troubles, exam stresses all add up. Spend time building meaningful relationships with your children so that they know they can turn to you whenever they feel overwhelmed by life. Practice mindfulness at home, or relaxation exercises like yoga and pilates, so your children will have a good model for their own stress-coping mechanisms .