Healthy Wellness Habits for Your Family
It can feel daunting to tackle one more area of life right now, but making even a few simple modifications in your family’s lifestyle routines can lead to lifelong positive changes and healthy habits for your children and your family.
So, how can you help your family develop a healthier lifestyle?
Prioritize Family Dinner
With virtual school, homework, and work-from-home schedules and the daily stress f raising a family in the midst of a pandemic, it can be hard to maintain a consistent family dinner routine. If you can’t sit down to eat together each night, set a goal for a realistic number of nights each week. This healthy habit will not only strengthen your bond as a family but instill a foundation about the importance of proper nutrition.
Children and teens should be eating a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, healthy protein, and healthy carbohydrates. Consider having kids help you design a “menu” of choices in each category that they enjoy and eat, and post this menu on the refrigerator or other prominent place in the kitchen.
The importance of physical activity and play for your children is undeniable. Physical activity can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss, combat health conditions and diseases, improve mood, and lead to better sleep. To reap the benefits of physical activity and play, just get more active throughout your day. Consistency is key. And open your mind–play and physical activity doesn’t have to be some structured, overly complicated and organized activity. It can be as simple as a walk around the block or cranking up some music and having a dance party in your giving room. Anything to get you moving!
Have a Bedtime Routine
Do you feel as though you get enough sleep most nights? Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? Do you know how many hours of sleep you or your children need each night? We spend roughly a third of our life sleeping, and the quality of the sleep we get is a vital component of good health. A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet for your family. Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function. If you don’t have one already, implement a bedtime routine.
Invest in Reading
Reading helps develop a strong parent-child bond, stimulate brain development as early as in utero, and cultivates active listening, strong literacy and critical thinking skills. Reading is not only beneficial for children. It can also help adults reduce stress, expand their vocabulary, and improve memory, focus and concentration. Strive to read a book to your children or set aside time for them to read independently each day. This is a great habit to make part of your daily bedtime routine.
Schedule Screen-Free Time
On average, adults spend about 11 hours a day staring at some kind of screen, whether that be a computer, phone, tablet, TV or other type of electronic device. Even if you’re not addicted, you might experience the negative effects of too much phone use. In fact, excessive phone use has been linked to depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. Some experts believe that cellphone use is also stunting our ability to connect with one another in real life. Research suggests that the mere sight of a cellphone can be hugely distracting during a conversation.
Set boundaries on when digital devices can and can’t be used, and as a parent lead by example. This can mean no phones at the dining table, no mobile digital devices in bedrooms, only watching tv or playing video games after reading a book, or committing to one day a week or weekend a month to go completely screen free. In this day and age, it might be difficult at first. But, eventually, it will become a habit like any other. You’ll be amazed at the benefits of going screen-free for every member of your family.
Tackle Stree Before It Becomes Overwhelming
Stress is a normal part of life, but chronic stress can take a toll and trigger headaches, depression, stomachaches, and more. Parents are in a good position to model healthy ways of dealing with stress. Instead of overeating, turning to alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes, positive stress management techniques include talking things out, visualizing good outcomes, journaling about problems, exercising, and volunteering to serve others.
Remember, new healthy habits aren’t formed overnight, but little by little, a little becomes a lot, so take it one day at a time. Getting the entire family unit involved is the best chance for success. When everyone feels as though they’ve had input, not only does it open the lines of communication but it fosters a sense of ownership.
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That’s it for now.