Healthy families normally have habits which promote health. They have a healthy lifestyle which the entire family shares. Most healthy families are actually all alike, in the sense that, they normally practice certain common habits which help in inoculating them against life’s many setbacks. To have a healthy family, the parents and the kids need to work together. When the parents and the kids embrace a healthy lifestyle together, the kids will be much more likely to take the habits with them well into adulthood. A healthy lifestyle will not only reduce your kids’ risk of incurring things such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes later in their lives, but it will also reduce depression and stress.
You should help your kids establish healthy lifestyles, right from the start. If healthy habits are established early in life, they become the natural way you normally do things. Maintaining a healthy habit as a family will also help you save on money and remain physically and emotionally fit. Here are 5 habits of healthy families;
1. Enjoy regular meals as a family
A family that eats together, stays together. Regular family mealtime is the 1 of the healthiest habits a family can engage in. An activity that might become more of a weekly affair after your kids grow up, should be more of a daily activity when your kids are still living in your house. Remember to always make the family meals fresh, and avoid going out to eat; your family will eat much less calories from a homemade meal. A meal around the dinner table is also an excellent time for strengthening family bonds. A recent study has revealed that family meals are linked to much lower risk of eating disorders, obesity, substance abuse, among others.
In addition, sharing meals gives a family time to connect. A family can share about the day’s events, discuss the latest goals, problem solve life challenges together, among others. A family mealtime is also a great time for parents to help in modeling good eating behaviors. As a matter of fact, recent studies reveal that families that eat meals together, tend to eat much more veggies and fruits.
2. Turn off the TV, phones and other such electronic devices
The use of smartphones, TV, computers and other such devices can be rather hard to escape from in this modern day. However, too much media might wreak havoc on a family’s overall health. It has actually been linked to sleep disorders, obesity, low grades, among others. You should consider limiting the family’s entertainment time to an hour or 2 a day. You should also turn off your cellphones and the TV during meals. Instead you should encourage your family to spend that time sharing or discussing about how to accomplish their life’s goals.
3. Exercise together
Exercising together promotes a healthy family culture. For instance, if you hike, jog or bike ride together, your kids will be more likely to go on practicing those activities well into adulthood. Make the activities a family tradition and also include them even in your vacations. Such habits will also make great family memories.
CDC advises that kids need about an hour of physical activity per day, whereas adults need at least 2 to 3 hours of moderately intense exercises per week. This will be easier to achieve if you exercise together. You should consider choosing an active activity during a family outing. For instance, you can take a family trip to your local park, or you can go hiking.
Exercising as a family may not be as easy as it sounds; it’s one thing to bring your family together for an exercise, it’s an entirely different thing to make your family always come together to exercise, or for them to enjoy it. It will need plans and strategies to achieve. The strategy should start with you, the parent, if you can’t make time to do the exercises yourself, you’ll not be be able to instigate the exercising idea to your family. Thus, it needs to start with you. Think of exercises as more of an active lifestyle that you can regularly do with your entire family.
4. Promote healthy eating
Kids are much more likely to acquire healthy eating behaviors when they are given a wide choice of delicious, healthy foods, hence, you need to include healthy foods on the shopping list. Make smart choices when shopping, do not bring home some unhealthy foods such as candy and cookies which will certainly be eaten. Instead, buy carrots, grapes, celery sticks, and apples so as to encourage healthy snacking. Remember to always prepare a delicious, healthy meal for your family. Also, as a family, you should remind yourselves of basic foods. They include; fruits, vegetables, lean meat, whole grains, poultry, fish, and meat alternatives such as lentils, beans, peas and dairy foods. Try and make all of your shopping lists from these particular groups so that it’ll be much easier to make good family meals which include them.
Remember to always praise your kids whenever they make healthy food choices. Educate your kids on the many benefits of healthy eating habits. You are also much more likely to promote healthy eating habits by making the meal time fun. Also, encourage your older kids to make healthy snack and lunch box choices. Encourage them to prepare the foods by themselves, and ask them to help you when preparing family meals; have a wide variety of healthy foods available from which your kids can choose from.
5. Set a good example
A parent who is physically active and has a healthy diet is more likely to promote similar habits in his/her kids. A child normally learns from what you actually do and not from what you usually tell him/her to do. You should always practice what you preach. Moreover, goals become more interesting when the family comes together to achieve them. So as to encourage healthy eating habits, the kids and the parents should work together to achieve a health lifestyle; when parents works together with kids to achieve a health lifestyle, everybody enjoys the benefits, and kids will be more willing to adhere to a healthy lifestyle later in life. Be the leader and lead the family toward a healthy lifestyle.
-Be patient; do not expect instant results. You can break your goals into mini goals to achieve, while you are aiming for the bigger ones. -Do not let any downfalls, such as missing exercise or unhealthy food choices, make you stop or dampen your enthusiasm.
-Remember to have fun; when hiking or riding bikes together, you can greet your neighbors.
-Empower your kids; you can create accountability by telling your kids to call you out in case they ever see you making unhealthy food choices. Helping each other remain on track will not only provide the much needed support, but it will also help in forming stronger bonds as a family.