Maegen Storm, C.N.P.
Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine (Children), Primary Care
A healthy, active lifestyle can help you maintain weight and prevent health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and high blood pressure. If you have a family, it's important to keep them healthy and happy, too. But raising your family isn't always easy. You are busy and so are your children.
There are some simple ways to create healthy habits and smart choices for your family early on.
Here are a 12 tips to help you and your family be healthy and happy:
During commercial breaks or between Netflix episodes, have a friendly competition to see who can do the most pushups, hold a plank the longest or do the most jumping jacks. Play is good for your family's health.
Admit mistakes to your children and ask for forgiveness. By modeling this behavior, it can help improve your own health and well-being while teaching kids to let go of grudges and bitterness.
3. Manage portions.
Offer a fruits and vegetables at every meal. Don't force kids to eat the fruit and veggies, but have them available. Be sure to model healthy eating. Your kids are watching.
4. Be proactive with health care.
Stay on top of well-child visits. These appointments track your child's growth, behavior, sleep, eating and social development.
5. Get quality sleep.
Sleep is an essential element of success for children. Aim for an early bedtime and a consistent routine of winding down — with no screen time. Remember, sleep-deprived children usually don't slow down, they wind up.
6. Explore new things.
Make a list of activities you'd like to try together and hang it somewhere the whole family can see.
7. Build strength.
Incorporate strength and flexibility into your family's physical activity plan. This can be as simple as stretching during commercials or doing calf raises while brushing teeth.
8. Find joy.
Find something to laugh about with your family every day. Laughter reduces stress and anxiety.
9. Spend time with loved ones.
Instill the importance of forming strong relationships by being kind to your loved ones. Kids will learn that giving — not receiving — can create real happiness. Schedule regular virtual time with loved ones who are not in your household.
10. Kick addictions.
Make screen time a privilege that is allowed only after chores and homework are completed. Limit screen time to less than two hours a day, and keep screens out of your child's bedroom.
11. Reduce stress.
Search online for free videos about yoga for children and families, or try incorporating deep breathing into your children's bedtime routine. Children experience stress and anxiety just like adults do.
12. Show gratitude.
Create a gratitude jar and encourage everyone to put a note in the jar each day with something they are grateful for. While you are all at the dinner table, take time to read them. Open your heart to gratitude and acknowledge suffering during challenging times.
If you find yourself struggling to get your family on board, remember that modeling healthy behaviors is a good place to start. You may not be able to make your family change, but you can start on your own wellness journey. Once they see the changes you are making, chances are they will want to jump on board too.