Building healthy family habits is the goal for most so we are sharing some easy ways to achieve that goal.
Being a healthy family means multiple things. In the physical sense, it means fueling our bodies with good foods and getting plenty of exercise, but it also has a mental & emotional meaning as well.
The healthy family habits we are sharing today are not only doable, but help with physical, mental, & emotional family health because ALL aspects are important.
12 Healthy Family Habits:
1. Have less screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children have 2 hours or less of screen time daily. It even suggested that using educational apps doesn’t benefit children much; that rather the benefits come from the interaction of parent & child, not the media. (source) Spend time outside or even just hanging out and talking instead!
We don’t usually have a problem with this on the weekdays since we are so busy. On the weekends, however, we have a lot more free time, so usually we will just head to the park and spend a good amount of time there to get away from technology for a bit.
2.Let your kids talk. As a parent, it is so easy to talk over our kids or even want to correct them after they tell a part of their story. Instead, just listen. Let your kids open up and during this time, treat them the way you treat other adults when they talk to you. This morning on our walk to school, my 5 year old told me all about tiger sharks and bull sharks and I loved listening to him “teach” me about this.
3. Eat less sugar. This is huge! (Check out our post on 10 tips for quitting sugar if you need help.) Really make an effort to read your nutrition labels. There are so many surprising items that are loaded with sugar! This healthy habit doesn’t mean you can never have sugar, it just means you should limit it when you can.
4. Eat more whole grains. Add whole grains to your diet as often as you can. The Kodiak Cakes in Chocolate flavor is our favorite way to add in whole grains. The kids can’t get enough and neither can we. You can also turn the pancake mix into whole grain muffins too for another quick whole grain snack!
5.Keep quick, healthy snacks on hand. You wanna know when my kids are the least picky & most willing to eat healthy foods? When they’re hungry. Make sure you have fresh fruits & veggies washed & prepped for those times when you family is too hungry to wait for dinner.
6. Set a reading goal. If you have older kids, a summer reading challenge is a great idea. We also love to read bedtime stories to our kids every night.
I had a friend growing up who’s family rule was that every minute spent reading earned them 1 minute of watching T.V. So if they wanted to watch a movie they would have to read for the equivalent amount of time first. I love this idea, but I’m not sure I’d ever do it myself.
7. Have a designated game night. This could be board games or even more physical games like tag, but a designated game night will really help create strong family bonds & gets everyone away from the TV/computer.
You could even let older kids invite friends or cousins over to play as well and make some homemade pizza to top it all off. Traditional “family night” is Monday, but you could do this any day of the week. Why make a specific night for this? Because otherwise you’ll always say you’ll do it one day and then it never happens.
8. Walk more. This could be as simple as just going for a walk to the frozen yogurt shop instead of hopping in the car. Plus, walks are a great way to get the family talking instead of just sitting in silence listening to the car radio. One way we incorporate this is by walking to and from our son’s elementary school together Monday-Friday.
9. Always carry sunscreen with you. Make this a habit and teach your children the importance of protecting your skin. And yes, contrary to popular belief, you can still get tan while wearing sunscreen! Ask any lifeguard if you don’t believe me 😉
10. Eat together. This one gets difficult as everyone gets older, especially if you all have your own activities, like sports practice, part time jobs, etc. BUT as often as you can, sit down at the dinner table and eat together, with no TV on in the background!
11. Eliminate stress. What stresses you out? For us it’s a dirty house and not having a set schedule. Toddlers love the predictability of a schedule. Having one in place eliminates, or at least reduces our possible melt downs. The dirty house thing mainly just stresses me & Scott out. I write specific deep cleaning chores on our monthly calendar so that we remember to stay on top of it.
12. Encourage good hygiene. We love this Mini “Wash & Brush” Timer. It flashes a green light and then turns red when it’s time to stop brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Perfect for teaching kids good hygiene habits. The hand washing button is 20 seconds and the teeth brushing button lasts 2 minutes.
These are the healthy habits we’ve been working on lately. Some of these are definitely going to be easier than others especially depending on the age of your kids.
Right now with our kids being 3 & 5 we have a lot of control over most of these habits. Starting these early will make it easier to keep your whole family healthy and hopefully, keep those family bonds strong as ever.