How to Model Healthy Habits in your Family
Children are always learning and adopting new habits. You can help nurture this natural process by showing them how you live, what you eat, how you exercise and how often you do these things. And if they see that their parents value these activities as well? Even better. Our Health and Wellness RN Lauren King says “Children often learn best by watching their parents. Our kids are almost always observing and learning from us so we can help teach our children by practicing healthy habits as often as possible.” Here are some ways that have worked for us:
Model good habits: You can’t expect your kids to be successful if you are not setting a good example for them! Modeling healthy habits will help your children develop positive attitudes about eating, sleeping, and exercising.
- Eat together as a family at least once per day or more often if possible.
- Serve healthy foods instead of processed foods and snacks. For example, serve more fresh fruit and vegetables instead of chips.
- Avoid too much screen time or allowing access to commercial websites that promote unhealthy behaviors such as drinking soda or eating fast food every day after school until bedtime.
Encourage Exercise: Encourage your children to get involved in physical activity. For example, take them for walks, play sports with them, go swimming, or play outside as much as possible.
Get your kids involved in sports. Getting your children into a sport is one of the best ways to help them stay active. Not only will they be able to exercise regularly, but they’ll also learn how to work with others and develop good social skills. Physical activity is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. Get active with your children and start a family fitness routine today!
Attend a Health Fair: Attending a Health Fair can be a great way to stay on top of your health and wellness. From affordable lab work to dozens of free health screenings and even free COVID-19 vaccinations at select locations, Health Fairs provide a convenient and cost-effective way to get the healthcare you need.
At a Health Fair, you can talk to a medical professional one-on-one and ask questions about your own health. This is a great opportunity to get personalized advice and guidance tailored to your own health needs. Plus, you’ll be able to find additional resources available in your community that can help you and your family stay healthy. Lauren King says “Our health fairs are not just for adults! We offer a variety of screenings specifically for children as well as our adult screenings. A health fair is a great opportunity for the whole family to come in a learn about their overall wellness.”
From free blood pressure checks to mental health assessments, health fairs provide a convenient and cost-effective way to make sure you’re staying on top of your health and wellness. Plus, you’ll be able to find additional resources available to you in your community. So don’t miss out on this great opportunity and be sure to attend your local Health Fair this Spring!
Meal planning and prep: Meal planning and prep can be an easy way for you to encourage and model healthy habits in your kids. By planning meals ahead of time, you will be able to save money and time by not having to run to the store at the last minute or get takeout/fast food. With meal prepping, you will be able to plan out & make sure everyone in your family gets the nutrients they need.
This does not have to be difficult, especially if this is a new routine for you. Start with ingredients that are already in your fridge, then add any fresh produce that is needed from the grocery store as well as meat and fish options! Some ways to find meals or inspiration for recipes, check out Pinterest or scroll through social media! There are so many ways to make meals creative and delicious. Lauren King says “Making small changes in the way you and your family eat will help your children understand how food affects their energy levels and can help encourage your kids to choose healthier foods.”
Moderate sugar intake: When it comes to sugar, moderation is key. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your child’s total calories from added sugars (sugar that is added during processing or preparation) to less than 10 percent of their daily diet. For example, if your child eats 2,000 calories per day, they should limit added sugars to 200 calories or less.
You can also help them stay within healthy limits by keeping track of the amount of added sugar in what they’re eating and drinking – especially when you’re buying packaged foods at the grocery store or dining out at restaurants.
Bedtime routine: Bedtime routines are a great way to encourage healthy habits in your children. A bedtime routine is something that happens every night before going to sleep and it can include anything from brushing their teeth to reading a book or having a snack. The key is to create an environment where your child knows what is expected of them – and that is not just about getting into bed! You want them to have positive associations with the whole process of getting ready for bed. Since it is different for everyone, here are a few tips for coming up with a bedtime routine:
- Pick an end time! Make sure everyone knows what time they need to be asleep by and stick with it every night. This will help avoid any confusion about when it really is time for lights to go out and can help prevent late nights if there is any flexibility in this window of time.
- Put away electronics 30 minutes – 1 hour before your end time. All electronics emit strong blue light which stimulates your brain and tricks you into believing that it is earlier in the day.
- Preparing your bedroom is a very important step! Make your sleeping space as dark, clean, cool, and quiet as possible. The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 65 to 68 degrees.
Practicing good hygiene: Children should be taught to wash their hands regularly and frequently. Making sure you and your kids are washing their hands after using the bathroom, before eating meals, and before prepping food. Along with that, everyone should be washing their hands after playing outside or touching animals.
Bacteria are everywhere. If something we touch is contaminated, those germs can quickly spread onto whatever else we touch next. Keeping up with good hygiene is one way to prevent illness!
With all that being said, we hope that this article has given you some helpful ideas on how to encourage your children to develop healthy habits. Lauren King says “Never underestimate the effect you can have on your children by modeling healthy habits. Creating healthy changes will impact your whole family and help show your children what it means to live a healthy and fulfilled life.” We understand that it can seem daunting at first but remember that small changes in your life will positively impact your children’s. Making small changes and practicing them together as a family, over time they will become second nature for everyone involved!