“I have a family now. There’s no time to exercise and eat right!” Sound familiar? Unfortunately, I bet it does because it is a very common excuse with new parents. However, it’s worrisome. Sure, kids change your life but you mold theirs! Bringing kids up in a house where exercise and good nutrition take a back-burner to video games and T.V. dinners will create unhealthy habits that’ll stick with your kids for the rest of their lives. Healthy habits ultimately offer the foundation for happiness so that you can enjoy each day without worrying about your health and you are free to pursue your dreams. With that in mind, here are 5 habits of healthy families that we can all adopt for the best version of ourselves.
5 Habits of Healthy Families:
Healthy habits are important to keeping our bodies healthy. Childhood obesity is no joke. Kids with poor nutrition are more likely to:
– Do badly in school
– Develop diabetes, asthma, high-blood pressure and a slew of other health problems
– Have low self-esteem and, worst of all
– Die at a much earlier age than their health-conscious peers
Getting your family on the right diet and exercise track is the one of the most important things you can do as young parents. A family who’s healthy together, stays together. What steps can you take to kick your family out of an unhealthy routine? Here are five habits healthy families got into. You may want to set personal goals for adding these into your family routine.
Rise and Shine
Sunday, Tuesday, Friday, Christmas Day—wake up at the same time and wake up together. Whether your kids are five or fifteen, getting into a habit of rising and shining synchronously will get your internal clocks ticking at a healthy rhythm. Getting your body on a set sleep schedule seven days a week, 365 days a year, will give you more energy, mental stamina and lead to a longer life. Lead by example and get your kids on an eight-hour-a-night sleep pattern, rewarding them with a healthy, delicious family breakfast every morning. Well rested children are generally healthy children that make better choices.
Take Turns Choosing Meals
The kids want McDonalds, you’re dying for a burrito and your spouse is ready to settle for whatever leftovers are in the fridge. Families rarely agree on what’s for dinner, so stop trying to please everyone and start delegating. Make some ground rules— no fast food, each meal has to have veggies, protein and grains, and eating out can only happen, say, once a week—and then draft up a “Meal Wheel” with everyone’s name on it.
Tuesday, little Johnny picks dinner. Wednesday, it’s your turn. Tomorrow your spouse is in charge and on Friday, Susie gets to map it out.
Getting the entire family involved in the decision-making process will make dinner more fun while putting health at the forefront. Be sure to try cooking homemade meals and limit processed foods.
Work Out Together
Whether you plan to go hiking once a week or take a karate class as a family, you need to make exercise a group activity. A great way to build this habit is by getting the whole family up—like I suggested above—and going for a run (or walk) together every morning. Exercising in the morning is proven to reduce stress and increase energy, and it’ll start you off with a great feeling of togetherness every day. Working out is great for your mental health too as it blows off steam and relieves stress. Being active is very important to healthy growth in young children.
Plan “Off” Days
Just because you’re getting your family’s health together doesn’t mean you have to be mean about it. Plan a night once a week when everyone gets to indulge. Maybe “Sundae Saturdays,” when you watch a movie as a family and prepare a healthy family movie night snack; or “Whatever Wednesdays,” when two hours of T.V. and a healthy (but indulgent) comfort food is acceptable.
Emotional well-being is an often ignored, yet crucially important, part of overall health. Getting your family in the routine of spending a little designated kick-back time together will bring you closer and make staying healthy that much more rewarding. It is a great time to make sure the home environment to welcoming and fun.
Use your positive parenting skills and see the best in your children. Take advantage of the opportunity to show your child spending time with them and doing fun things together is important to you. Increased parent-child interaction is important to establishing bonds that will get you through tough times. Be the best parent you can be and that will lead to a more successful life for all family members including you!
Walk And Talk
Open lines of communication between you, your spouse and your kids are the foundation of a healthy family dynamic. Having weekly, or even daily, catch-up sessions—where everyone gets to share their worries, gripes, accomplishments and silly jokes—is an excellent habit for any family. Why not turn it into an excellently healthy habit, and take a stroll while you and your loved ones bare your souls? Open conversation where everyone gets a chance to express themselves is a great way to build your child’s trust so they know that they can come to you with anything.
Author of Base Camp Reno, Elizabeth Barile says, “By taking your children on hikes, you can be a model of healthy living for them. You can teach them about their surroundings, or better yet, learn about nature together. Put your phone away, so your children know you love them more than it. Breathe in fresh air, and get clear perspective on your media consumption and life. Find the freedom spending time in nature provides, and you’ll also discover you’re a more fit, attentive parent.”
Give one of these ideas for healthy families a whirl. Not thrilled with anything on the list above? Then let my suggestions inspire you to draft up your own healthy habits to suit your family’s needs. Whatever you do, just make sure you do it. You owe your family a healthy you, and your kids deserve a great health role model. Do you have a healthy families-tip you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it @familyfocusblog!