No matter how old your kids are or how healthy your family is already, there are always tips you can employ to get your family’s health even more up to speed! Whether you’re an outdoorsy adventure bunch, a family that loves to learn or a family that needs a little extra push every now and then, there are so many ways to promote health and wellness in your family, from small changes to larger habits that you can bring into your household daily.
Having a healthy family goes beyond diet and exercise — especially when there are so many moving parts to your situation, like many families have. Whether you lead a busy lifestyle, a more sedentary lifestyle or you simply want to get back to feeling a bit better in your quality of life, focusing on your health is one of the most important things you can do, and that can start at any age. If you’re looking to promote health in your household, here are nine ways you can do it.
1. Eat Breakfast Together
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it can actually set the tone for the rest of your meals throughout the day. Making healthy choices at breakfast can keep you energized and encourage more healthy choices throughout the day. Whether you fill up on eggs, grains or delicious smoothies, sitting down to breakfast together is a great way to encourage healthy habits.
2. Carry Water Bottles Everywhere
Staying hydrated is a key part of day-to-day health, but people can often forget to drink enough water regularly in order to stay properly hydrated. In fact, drinking water has been shown to reduce the number of bacteria in urine, and thus prevent UTI and other health risks.
This can be especially true for kids, as they can forget to bring water bottles easily. Make sure you always have water on you when you go out as a family.
3. Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods
In order to get the variety of vitamins and minerals you all need to function properly, it’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins in your diet. Nutritional deficiencies of key vitamins like folate, Omega-3s, and vitamins D and B-12 have even been linked to depression and other mental health challenges. Make sure your family is eating a rainbow of foods!
4. Spend Time Outdoors
Outdoor time is good for the mind and the body. It encourages exercise, uplifts moods and even helps combat vitamin D deficiency through the sunlight! Try to make scheduled time for outdoor play at least once a day — both for you and the kiddos.
5. Get Enough Sleep Each Night
While adults may need a good eight hours of sleep, that number fluctuates among age groups. Getting enough sleep is vital for the physical and mental development of kids and teens, and for the health and well-being of adults and kids alike. Children between the ages of six and 12 years old should be getting at least nine hours of sleep, and teens may need up to 10 hours of sleep a night. While this may sound excessive, it can prove to be highly important for long-term health and happiness.
6. Get On a Sleep Schedule
In order to get enough sleep each night, you may find that getting the family on a sleep schedule can help create a positive routine. Yes, that means that even the parents will have a bedtime — but it’s important to consider that you may need one. Many adults don’t get enough sleep each night, and having a more concrete routine can help you get there.
7. Put Down the Screens
While screen time isn’t all bad, everybody could benefit from a little bit of distance here and there — especially younger children, whose eyes and brains are still developing. Having a screen-free zone in your house or even having a few screen-free hours each day can encourage creativity, rest, innovation and physical activity, and this counts for kids and parents alike.
8. Encourage Creativity
Speaking of creativity, encouraging creative expression in your household is a great way to take care of one another emotionally and mentally. Creativity in all of its forms can be a fantastic outlet for feelings, thoughts and emotions, and it can result in skills that your kids take with them long into the future. Whether you journal, draw, paint or play music, you and your kids can find positivity and health in creative expression.
9. Talk Openly About Mental Health
Having frank conversations about mental health can be tough, especially if you have much younger kids in the house. But even if it’s hard, it’s important to remind your kids that they can come to you with anything. Mental health is a part of overall wellness, and the more you remember that, the better.
Building a Healthy Family
Encouraging health and wellness in your home will be a unique experience no matter what — every parent, child and family is different, and you need to find the methods that work best for you. Whether you need to add a bedtime to the sleep schedule or spend some time off the screens, you can figure out how your family functions best, one step at a time.