It’s a parent’s job to keep their family happy and healthy, which can be challenging and rewarding. With low-nutrient foods and technological distractions being readily accessible in our modern society, finding balance can feel impossible. To build a healthy family, it’s important to tackle one thing at a time and build lasting habits. Here are six steps for building a healthy family.
6 Step to Building a Healthy Family
Treats are meant to be a rare indulgence for special occasions, enjoyed after filling one’s body with nutrients. Unfortunately, they can become the thing your children gravitate toward first if given the chance. Start your journey to health by minimizing treats.
Some parents choose to eradicate treats entirely while others keep them around for special occasions. The problem with complete elimination or identifying them as “bad” is that it can create an unhealthy relationship with food, which can be equally as damaging as overindulgence in the long run.
Reduce Processed Foods
Take a look at the processed food in your home and try to find ways to replace them with unprocessed alternatives. Try to find your balance with vegetables, unprocessed lean proteins, and whole grains rather than something that comes out of a box. Fruit makes an excellent alternative to treats and desserts, due to their inherent sweetness.
Having snack trays of raw vegetables or fruit rather than granola bars will encourage your hungry kids to make a better choice when snack time rolls around. Using pre-cut vegetables and salads from your grocery store is a healthy alternative to fast food when you’re on the go. Include your kids in the shopping experience to help them feel encouraged to eat the healthy food you bring home.
Get Moving Together
Extracurricular activities are a great way to get kids moving and ensure they get the exercise they need to burn off excess energy. Heading to the gym or a fitness class will also help you experience the same benefits. However, it’s rare that families find time to move together.
Try to find activities that you can all experience, even something as simple as hiking through new trails or playing tag at the park. A half an hour each day of physical exercise as a family will help everyone communicate, have fun, and sleep better at night.
Get Some Good Rest
There are lots of parents who are all too familiar with the impacts of sleep deprivation. Having a difficult sleeper can be exhausting over the years, especially as your family expands and grows. Start incorporating bedtime routines to get everyone wound down. Limit screen time before bed, as the blue light from tablets and computers can interfere with one’s circadian rhythms.
Ensure that you’ve created healthy sleeping environments, with dim light or complete darkness, cool air, noise cancellation, and no distractions. This applies both to your kids and to you and is key to building a healthy family.
Try to limit your children to technology tablets. If your kids rely on their tablets for entertainment now, the first few days of setting hard limits will be challenging for everyone, but the rewards will be well worth it.
Don’t just apply this new rule to your children– you should be limiting your technology as well. Rather than scrolling through Facebook while your children play, take the time to pay attention to them. Ask about their day and learn to focus on quality time.
The best way to build a healthy family is to model the behavior you wish for your children to pick up. Like in a business, family behaviors and norms trickle down from the top. If you want your children to eat well, exercise, go to bed on time, and focus on the world outside of a computer, you can’t just tell them what to do; you have to show them.
By making these changes to your lifestyle, you will be building a healthy family with good habits and strong bonds.