The habits built as a family are often the same habits that follow kids into adulthood. One of the most important things you can pass along to your child is a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late to teach your kids what it means to be healthy. Often times it is hard to stick to your goals on your own but together as a family it can be easier to make choices that will lead to a healthy foundation for the years to come.
Here are some tips and ideas for how to encourage your family to be healthier:
Family Meal Time. The family dinner hour is an important part of healthy living. When families dine together, they tend to eat more vegetables and fruits — and fewer fried foods, soda, and other unhealthy foods. When younger kids frequently eat dinner with their families, they are less likely to be overweight than other children. You don’t have to eat every meal together, start with twice a week and build from there. Keep it simple. You don’t have to make a four-course meal every night. Making a veggie pizza or heating up leftovers counts! Add a salad or side of fruit for a complete meal.
Get a dog or borrow one. A dog is a live-in playmate that never gets tired of walking or chasing the ball or wrestling on the grass. Dogs need daily activity and so do kids. Together your child can learn responsibility of taking care of an animal AND get in some daily physical activity.
Always have toys with you. Keep active items like balls, jumprope, or frisbee in the back of your car and be ready to have fun anywhere at anytime. If you are waiting to pick up the carpool, grab a Frisbee from the car and pay catch until it’s time to go. If you are waiting in line while your child jumps rope you will probably not hear those famous words “how much longer?”.
Family walks or bike rides. Parents are the role model for their kids. You can’t just instruct a child how to be healthy. You need to show them! Make sure your child sees you being active and eating healthy food. What you say might not always stick but certainly what a child sees you do will. After dinner get the whole family out for a walk around the block. Or ride bikes to the nearest park before dinner. Whatever activity your family chooses to do, do it together!
Turn off the technology. We often feel like there is never enough time for everything. One of the best ways to find time in our day is to turn off the technology. You will be surprised at how much more time you have on your hands if you don’t have the TV or computer on. Even turning it all off for even one hour can give you a big window of time to take a walk or play a game.
Walk to school. Choose at least one day a week where you walk your child to or from school. Use this time to not only get some activity in but also use it as time to talk to your child about their day. It is a great way to unwind from a crazy day and relax.
Take some time to think about some of the little ways your family can become more healthy.Sit down with your family and discuss some goals. Every change counts and becomes motivation to make more changes in the future.