How Kids Learn: 8 Tips for Setting Healthy Examples

Most parents have one thing in common: we all want to raise healthy, happy kids. It’s built into our parental goals.

The question is: how? 

Kids are sponges, so the best way to raise a happy child is to model the kinds of behavior you want your child to emulate. If you want your kid to eat a well-balanced diet, then it’s time to set the bar and eat properly most of the time—the occasional birthday cake is completely understandable. If you want them to be active, then it’s time to stop telling your kids to get off the TV and go outside from the vantage of your couch. Get up and go outside too. If you want them to prioritize learning, then you should show a commitment to your own continued education, whether it be personally or professionally. 

This advice is all well and good, but also, vague. Let’s dive a little further into how to set healthy examples for your children. 

Setting Healthy Examples

The key to parenting—no matter your style—is modeling positive behavior. Here are some areas you want to set healthy examples for your mini-me’s:

  • Listening
  • Children have a lot to say, some things could be fantastical, but often they just want to be included in the conversation, so let them have a say. Even if what they have to say is nonsensical, like they just came inside after riding their pet unicorn. Why not ask questions about their adventure instead and let your kids take the lead? This teaches them that their voices are important and that they deserve to be heard.


  • Role Model

  • Be a positive role model. Nobody expects perfection but in the same way you watch what you say around your kids so they don’t pick up swearing earlier than necessary, try to model good behavior too. Say your pleases and thank yous. Be kind to people. Show compassion and empathy. It may be scary, but it should also be incredibly reassuring: you have the power to shape and change your child’s life for the better. 


  • Regulating Emotions

  • On the heels of the last point, you want to help your child learn to regulate their emotions. This includes teaching them ways to combat stressful situations and how to calm themselves down when they’re seeing red.

  • This is perhaps one of the hardest teachables for parents, especially if you’re prone to anxiety; as it’s hard to teach something you struggle with yourself. If you want your child to truly be happy, they need to learn how to co-exist with their passing feelings and emotions, as it’s all a part of the human experience.


  • Healthy Meals

  • Kids go through fazes, most will go through periods of picky eating but the most important thing to remember is not to give in. Sometimes a pinch of tough love is needed to ensure your kids develop their palate to include healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, proteins, and dairy. 
  • Just because your youngster thinks hotdogs are a superfood, doesn’t mean it’s super for them. Help model good eating by always providing diverse but healthy meals that YOU eat too! 

  • Need help with healthy eating? Shop our nutrition guides. From vegan to low carb and balanced omnivorous meal plans, we have the guidance and knowledge to help you learn to create healthy meals for your family from scratch. Shop now—they’re on sale!

    Hot tip: Spend every meal you can at the table (cue Sunday dinners, every night) free from technology, because studies find this leads to better grades and good mental health.

  • Integrate Exercise

  • We don’t need to tell you the benefits of exercise, and why your children should also exercise daily, but we can suggest one thing—play with them. Get involved with their playtime by taking them outdoors, doing a workout video suitable for their age, starting a game of tag or what have you. If you exercise with your minions they’ll come to enjoy exercise all the more, as it’s time they get to spend with you! All you have to do is dedicate an hour a day and you’ll help establish a lifelong appreciation for exercise.

  • Hot tip: Do your BodyRockPlus workouts in front of them, so they come to believe exercise is a normal part of everyone’s day!

    Try this BodyRock beginner workout for FREE. 

  • Rewards

  • It may be tempting to encourage your children to eat their meal or get good grades and as a reward, they get a cookie for their efforts—but, take our advice, don’t. Give them a sticker, a toy, or some kind of experience, just not food. What you’re doing is skewing your kids’ perception of healthy food; junk food is sacred while healthy food is readily available (therefore, boring). You can’t on one hand educate them about the pitfalls of sugar and then reward their good grades with ice cream, kinda contradictory, right?

  • Learning

  • As parents, it's your job to nurture a love of learning. Kids are going to spend a lot of time in school and if they want to make something of themselves, encouraging them and praising their hard work as it pertains to school is crucial.
  • Try not to push for excellence because then you’re setting your kid up for failure, when they don’t come home with only A’s on their report card; rather encourage them to try their best and ask for help if something doesn’t come easily to them. A love of learning will take a child far. 

  • Money

  • The final tidbit is teaching your kids the value of money. Stress is a killer and to help avoid the biggest stressor that adults face — not having enough money — introduce to your kids that money doesn’t grow on trees. Children need to understand that if they want something, they aren’t just entitled to it, rather, set up a system that works for you (and is age appropriate) to have them work for it. 
  • Setting Healthy Example for Kids

    Many of us dream of having kids and we envision a bright future for them, but what we soon come to realize after having kids is just how damn hard it is. They watch everything you do, they’re learning from our words, our actions and how we respond to situations (the good and the bad) so it can be a real headsplitter when you realize just how easy it is to teach the wrong things.

    Instead of getting caught up in a sinkhole of worry, always remember to do your best and that it’s human to err; and most importantly, it’s about being a present and positive role model in your little human(s) life. Sign up for BodyRock+ if you haven’t already. Score a free trial, and try some classes with the kiddies. Our beginner challenges, like our Beginner Bootcamp, Beginner Strength series and Beginner Yoga.

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