All parents want their kids to grow up healthy. We do as much as we can while they are under our care, even against loud objections. However, a day is going to come when they are no longer under our care. They are going to be out on their own, and their lifestyle choices will be up to them.

If you want your kids to remain as healthy as possible long after they leave your care, you need to instill in them some healthy habits. Doing this will make healthy choices second nature to them, and they won’t even realize that they’re still under your influence. Here are the healthy habits that you should focus on, as they will provide the most benefit long-term.

Eating Right
The most obvious healthy habit to instill in your children is eating right. As we get older, our metabolisms change, and we can no longer eat the foods we once did without gaining weight. This time will come for your kids as well, and you’ll want them to know how to eat healthy when it arrives.

Make sure your child is eating balanced meals throughout the day, and that you limit the number of snacks. When they do have a snack, try to make it a healthy one like fruit or veggies. Perhaps most importantly, you need to follow these eating habits yourself. Kids mimic our behavior, and if they see you snacking on junk food while they have to eat carrots, they will wonder why they have to do it.

Right behind eating well is exercising. Without enough exercise your child could face some long-term health problems, no matter how well they eat. Encourage your kids to try different sports teams and see which ones they like. If they don’t like sports, find other ways for them to get exercise. Play with them in the yard, go for long walks, take a boat out on a nearby lake. There are plenty of ways to get exercise without having to join a team, it’s just a matter of finding something your child likes and encouraging them to do it.

Regular Doctor Visits
Even if you eat right and exercise, you could face some health complications. This is just an unfortunate fact of life, one that we all have to deal with. The best way to handle health problems is by detecting them early and following a doctor’s recommendation. To do this, you need to see a doctor regularly.

Make getting a checkup a regular habit for your children. You should go once a year, even if they are not sick, just to make sure everything is fine. Try to make a fun day out of it so that your child associates the doctor with fun things. This will help them to continue the habit when they are younger.

In addition to the doctor, the same principles apply to the dentist. You should see a local dentist every few months for a cleaning and checkup to ensure healthy teeth and gums. Take your kids to a kid-friendly dentist so that the experience is a little more enjoyable for them.

Reading and Writing
Up until now we’ve focused on physical healthy habits you should try to instill in your kids. And while these are important, you shouldn’t neglect healthy mental habits. One you should focus on is reading and writing.

By getting your kids into reading you are giving them a lifelong love of books. This gives them an activity they can do away from the TV, the ability to learn new information, and a stress-reducing activity. A love for reading comes from a young age, so work on giving your kids books, taking them to the library, or reading to them before bed.

In addition to this, you should encourage your kids to write. This will help them to develop their communication skills, their creative skills, and get in touch with their own thoughts. Help them to start a journal/diary or ask them to write you some stories. Writing is a great habit to have and it’s more likely to stick if you start young.

Other Habits to Promote
The above habits are a great place to start, but there’s many more you can try to give your kids. For instance, you could help them practice good time management and organization skills. Or you could get them to spend more time outside, taking them for hikes or playing in the yard. The key is to really focus on the things you’re teaching your kids now, as the habits they pick up will stick with them for the rest of their lives.