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As parents, you can inspire your children to adopt healthy habits by making healthier choices yourselves. Be it by eating well, managing your screen time, sleeping better or even practising self-care, you can influence them in a positive way starting today!
Love veggies? Your children will probably love them too. Snack often? Yeap, they will likely pick up the unhealthy habit. Here are some
easy and fun ways for you to start eating healthily as a family.
Food prep and mealtimes are great opportunities to influence your children about food and nutrition.
#1 Get the children involved!
Going grocery shopping or planning dinner? Start off by selecting a protein or vegetable and let them choose the next ingredient. You can introduce your children to healthy ingredients that they would like to be part of the meal. This is also a great way to
bond with them.
Take this chance to share the
benefits of fruits and vegetables with your children and encourage them to try a variety
at a young age.
#2 Eat together and be fully present during mealtimes
When you eat a wide variety of healthy foods in front of your children, they will follow suit as they
model after you.
During meals, be fully present. That means putting away devices, listening to and engaging with your children and the other adults at the dining area.
All of this will make healthy mealtimes enjoyable!
#3 Have a healthy plate of food that your children can follow
When deciding how much to cook or how much to put on your plate, use
My Healthy Plate as a guide. My Healthy Plate is for both adults and children. Fill plates with 1/4 plate brown rice, 1/4 plate meat/others, and 1/2 plate fruit and veggies.
Using a child-sized plate (8 inch in diameter) ask your children to fill it up according to whatever is on your plate. Make it fun for them! Here are some
tips on planning your meals with My Healthy Plate.
Watch what you buy and bring into the home, and what you use to reward your child.
#1 Limit unhealthy goodies at home
Savoury snacks or sugary drinks at home are tempting even to the strongest of wills. Be mindful of what you buy at home and what you eat in front of your children. Your little ones will watch what you do and learn.
Love snacks? There are healthier options. Check out this article to learn more about healthy snacks and to get some
healthy snack ideas too!
#2 Avoid using unhealthy goodies as rewards
You might occasionally indulge in unhealthy foods to reward yourselves, and also do the same for your children. However, when you give them chocolate, ice-cream or other unhealthy snacks as rewards, they will associate unhealthy foods with their achievements!
Try to avoid rewarding them this way. There are
other ways to show and tell them they’ve done well.
In today’s world, parents have to grapple with their children’s screen time limits. How much screen time should your children have? How do you limit screen time? Is it even possible to role model healthy screen time?
Find out more here.
Be a role model and practise healthy screen time together as a family.
#1 Limit your own screen time
The best way to influence your children is to walk the talk! Yes, that means setting a good example by limiting your own recreational screen time. This could mean setting gadget-free periods such as mealtime and bedtime.
When they see you trying something, they will be more willing to do the same. They want to be like you! And you will be helping them avoid these
negative repercussions as they age.
#2 Create shared experiences
Sometimes, you may use devices for learning and educational purposes. Instead of leaving them alone to use the device
(passive viewing) and using your own device concurrently, choose what to watch and co-view together.
Turn it into a shared experience by asking them about what they see and hear. It can be a teaching moment as you explain what’s on the screen and how it relates to you, the family, and the world around them.
#3 Keep to the limits as a family
Mindless scrolling and passive viewing can take up a lot of time. Your children observe you and might ask for screen time too. Therefore, it is important to set
ground rules, even for yourselves. You can involve your child in setting rules for the family, such as time limits.
Once the rules are set, you are going to have to reinforce them consistently! Use timers as reminders to everyone in the family to keep to the limits and take breaks.
#4 Have fun together, without the screens!
It is the weekend and all you want to do is to turn on the television, sit back and relax. Instead of making that the default activity during your free time, you can also aim to have weekly screen-free activities that are enjoyed as a family.
This way, your children learn from a young age that there are other things to occupy themselves instead of using devices. Make time for free play, go outdoors, read books, solve puzzles or make friends at the playground instead.
Make play a part of their lives.
Children under 18 months old should be discouraged from having any passive viewing screen time as the early years are critical for children’s cognitive development. Passive viewing refers to screen viewing without adult co-viewing and interaction.
Children between 18 and 36 months should have no more than 1 hour of supervised screen time each day.
Children between 3-6 years old should have no more than 1 hour of unsupervised, recreational and passive screen-time.
For children 7-18 years old, encourage healthy habits and limit activities that include screens.
When children get enough sleep, they do better at home and in school. How do you get them to develop good sleeping habits? One way is to have a healthy sleep routine for yourself!
Establish a consistent and fun routine that your children will look forward to.
#1 Be part of their bedtime routine
It all starts with you: daddy and mummy! When it is bedtime, you can wind down together by putting your devices away, then brush your teeth. Reading can be a good way for you to relax too. Get your little ones to join in or let them select the storybooks that they want you to read to them. Next, you can tuck your children into bed or cuddle with them.
Here are other ways that you and your
children can prepare for bedtime.
#2 Aim for a good night’s sleep together
Make getting the
minimum hours of sleep a fun goal that you and your children share. Establishing a sleep routine where you sleep and wake at the same time every day will help you to do just that.
You can even come up with a rewards chart to keep track of who in the family is getting sufficient sleep.
Active children grow into active adults. Make physical activity part of their daily life (and yours) for an active and healthy family. Here are some
tips and tricks for daddy and mummy.
If you try to stay active wherever you are, even at home, your children are bound to follow.
#1 Slot in short bursts of activity
Show your children how easy it is to fit in a variety of activities, even if it is just around the neighbourhood. You could take the stairs together instead of taking the lift, or take a walk after dinner. Need more ideas? Check out these
#2 Work in light exercises
Another way to stay active throughout the day is by doing light exercises whenever possible.
In front of the TV? Walk on the spot together or do sit-ups. Have a little time after dinner? Chores can keep the family active too. Mop, sweep or wash the car together.
Aim for 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity a week.
#3 Schedule time for play!
The best way to ensure you get active is to plan and make time for it. An hour of play a day is not only good for the little one but also for daddy and mummy. Schedule an hour of play every day outdoors or indoors. Here are some great ideas on how you can have
fun while getting fit together.
#4 Explore activities and sports together
Continuously explore new types of sports and activities together. Trying
different activities will give them the chance to discover what they really enjoy. And when they have found what they love, they will spend more time engaging in the sport and getting healthy – a habit that will follow them into adulthood!
Free activity sheets for fun, active and healthy families
Self-care is not selfish. Quite the opposite! When you are refuelled, you are better able to care for your family. You will also be setting a good example to your children, showing them how recharging regularly helps them to better manage life’s challenges.
As a parent, you play many roles which comes with different responsibilities and challenges. When you are overwhelmed or drained, take a pause and reflect about what you are feeling. This will help you identify your emotions and address issues specifically. Use a feelings tracker for daily check ins.
Find out more here.
Physical and mental health are closely linked – you cannot have one without the other. To release those happy hormones, you can exercise regularly, get a good night’s sleep daily and eat a healthy and balanced diet. When you are healthy, you will be in better shape to take care of yourself and your family.
Find out more here.
When things get overwhelming, practising coping skills may help you feel better. Whether it is taking some “me-time” by engaging in activities to clear your mind or reframing your thoughts from negative to positive, you can make the best out of the situation by focusing on things you can control.
Find out more here.
Reaching out is a sign of courage – it is not a sign of weakness and it does not mean you are unable to manage or handle life. Here are some ways you can reach out for support. By doing so when you are in need, you are helping yourself as well as showing your children that it is okay for them to reach out when they are in need too.
Find out more here.
By learning how to manage your emotions, you can take better care of your own well-being.
When things do not go as expected, practise forgiveness towards yourself and your children. Prioritising the relationship with your spouse and children, having a learning mindset, and celebrating small victories not only deepens bonds but also builds emotional resilience.
Understanding your emotions allows you to become aware of triggers, so you can gain insights on how to respond in constructive ways.
Manage your emotions, as intense or overwhelming as they may be, in a healthy way so your little ones learn how to do the same.
Explore self-care tools and resources to learn more about caring for yourselves.
There are many avenues of support available. Find the right help.
Get tips and resources to boost your mental well-being and stay positive.
Affectionately known as the "baby book" that every Singaporean child grows up with, the Child Health Booklet (CHB) is provided to parents at the time of delivery.
Find parenting tips, expert advice and helpful inspiration to guide your child’s development!
Kickstart your child’s Active Start to life! We have a full suite of resources, sporting activities and ideas for the entire family to live better through sports.
Our mental wellbeing affects how well we deal with challenges, solve problems and achieve our goals. Discover our self-care tools and resources.
When it comes to your child’s health, you can never be too careful. With the Children’s Health Services on HealthHub, you have a smarter and more convenient...
Every child needs a daily dose of quality sleep.
Physical activity is important to health. Get started with HPB's physical activity programmes and get more from life today!
Who says home-cooked meals can't be both delicious and wholesome? Check out our healthier recipes below!
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