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Adolescent Development: Key Habits To Teach Children

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Ruby Fernandez · Updated May 10, 2022

Adolescent Development: Key Habits To Teach Children

Habits are essential in our day-to-day lives. We study, we eat healthy,  and we try to sleep at a reasonable time each night because these are habits that make our lives better. The problem is, habits are often difficult to build, especially when we’re older. A recent study showed that habits don’t vary much beyond the age of nine. This is why parents should shape a child’s behaviour while they are young. Instilling good habits during adolescent development is critical for these habits to continue to grow with children as they develop and age.

As your child enters early adolescent development, it can be tough to continue reinforcing positive habits. For many parents and children alike, adolescence can be tricky. Many changes happen during this stage of a child’s life that can often confuse or impact them negatively. But building habits at a young age allows parents to teach their child the basics of money, manners, and self-esteem. 

To support positive habit-building during adolescent development, it’s crucial to understand what they’re going through and struggling with as they transition from a child to a young adult. Habits are at the core of healthy child and adolescent development. If you’d like to know more about the positive habits that you should be helping your child acquire — from an early age to when they are adolescents — then read on.

Healthy Habits To Teach Your Young Child

Children are impressionable. At a very early age, they acquire knowledge through imitation. This means that, as a parent, being extra careful about the things you frequently do and say is vital if you want to start building positive habits while they’re still young. 

Another essential factor in teaching your child positive habits is to remember that they’re more likely to do something if they see you doing it yourself. 

Household Habits To Teach Children

Doing little tasks around the house can help teach a child the value of being tidy. Although they won’t necessarily get it right every time, creating a routine can prepare them for doing more significant tasks later on. 

Some habits to teach young children include:

  • Putting all their toys in the toy bin
  • Picking up their dirty clothes and putting them in the hamper
  • Bringing their dishes and utensils to the sink after they’ve eaten
  • Tidying up the bed right after they get up in the morning
  • Dietary Habits To Teach Children

    One of any parent’s main concerns is what their child is eating. How much your child eats isn’t entirely within your control, but the quality of his or her diet is something you can manipulate. Here are some tips to teach children healthy eating habits:

    1. Eating healthy yourself is one of the most powerful ways to send your kids a message about good eating habits. 

    2. Giving them meals and snacks at the right time will help them maintain a sound eating routine.

    3. If you’re concerned about overeating, there are a few ways you can keep an eye on your child’s diet without making them feel that there’s something wrong with how they eat. Try turning the TV off during meal times and making sure there are no gadgets; this will help your child focus on their appetite.

    Serve food on a smaller plate, to make your child feel like they have a “full plate” while still getting the proper amount of food. If your child tends to ignore veggies on their plate, don’t try to make up for this by giving them more protein or carbs. Try disguising veggies in food that they usually eat instead. 

    4. If you notice that your child’s eating habits make them prone to undereating, make sure that you feed them snacks or meals at the same time every day. This will help to ensure that they feel hungry around the same time. Also, try feeding them smaller portions for snacks. Snacking too much or too often could be the cause of your child not eating enough during mealtime.

     5. Limit junk food or snack options in the house. If you’re stocking up the pantry, try to make healthier snacks more accessible. 

    Healthy Habits for Adolescent Development

    Adolescence can be a much more difficult time to navigate especially for parents. Unfortunately, most teenagers or young adults won’t see yet the value of building habits. Since this is a time of rapid change and development, an adolescent will be more concerned about realizing who they are, and being with their peers. 

    Your job as a parent is to help them build the right habits, even if they don’t necessarily agree to it.

    Dietary Habits in Adolescent Development

    During adolescent development stage, your tween or teen may be more inclined to eat more. Encouraging healthy eating habits will pay off in the long run, when they’re going to make decisions about what they eat on their own.

    1. Always prepare breakfast. Teenagers might be inclined to skip meals, especially breakfast. Try to lead by example and eat breakfast with them as often as you can.
    2. Involve your adolescent in meal-planning and cooking. Giving them the chance to decide what’s going on the family menu will make them more likely to look forward to eating at home instead of eating out. Gradually teaching them how to cook will help them become more independent. 

    Other Important Habits To Teach During Adolescent Development

    1. Limiting screen time in the digital age will help your teen understand why it’s good to disconnect once in a while. 
    2. Make it a habit to compliment your teen. Encouraging positivity surrounding their appearance and character is essential, considering that adolescence can present a struggle with body image and self-esteem.
    3. Try to manage their sleep schedule the best that you can. You can do this by going to bed the same time as them, or setting a scheduled time for turning all the gadgets off.

    Key Takeaways

    As parents, helping your kid create positive habits is one of the best things you can do for them. Reinforcing these habits will help them establish their routines in the future. Starting at a young age and continuing during adolescent development can help them become more independent and capable.

    Learn more about Adolescents here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Ruby Fernandez · Updated May 10, 2022

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