On your own, staying healthy can be pretty easy. You could control your healthy diet, abstain from sugary treats, and exercise when you need to. And if you fall behind on your health regimen, you could always pick yourself back up and start over.
With a family of younger kids, on the other hand, staying healthy can be quite a challenge. Children are universally known to hate anything green and healthy, are obsessed with all things sugary, and, these days, prefer to sit in front of the TV or computer than exercise. What’s more is that kids can be impossible to reason with if you don’t know how to handle them right.
Children need more nutrients and exercise because their bodies are still growing. Unfortunately, kids don’t exactly understand the repercussions of an unhealthy lifestyle so convincing them to get fit and healthy won’t be easy. As a parent or guardian, you have the responsibility to ensure that your kids are properly nourished so they can grow and develop healthily.
Lucky for you, maintaining a healthy family doesn’t have to be an uphill battle all the time. Keep in mind these few reminders and follow these tips and your family will be happy and healthy in no time.
What You Need to Know: Healthy Habits
A Family Affair
Staying healthy should be a goal for the entire family, not just to the kids. Parents need to practice what they preach and set a good example for their children. You can’t expect your young ones to eat their fruits and veggies if they see you munching on junk food all the time. Everyone in the household should observe healthier practices. That way, your kids will grow up strong and you will stay spry and fit as well.
Set Limits on Screen Time
These days, kids are glued to a screen, be it a TV, a smartphone, or a tablet. They can spend hours and hours just watching videos or playing games on their phone or tablet if you let them. What you need to do is to set reasonable limits to how much time your kids can spend watching TV or playing with the computer. Also, make sure that the shows and games they do spend their time on are appropriate and educational. But more than anything, encourage them to play more active games as much as possible.
Don’t be too Restrictive
A common mistake some people make when they’re starting out is that they tend to be more controlling and forceful during mealtimes which can really put a lot of stress on the kids, not to mention on themselves. Rather than trying to strictly enforce your kids to eat their fruits and veggies, try a calmer and more encouraging approach. Don’t scare your kids into eating healthy. Chances are, they’ll develop a strong aversion for vegetables and fruits if they were forced to eat them at mealtimes. If you can, make a game out of it so your kids will be more excited to eat healthier food.
Encourage Positive Body Image
It’s important to note that while you should instil upon your kids the value of staying healthy, you should also encourage them to be happy with their bodies. Just because a kid appears to be on the heavier side doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re unhealthy. And just because a kid is a little bit smaller or skinnier than others doesn’t mean that they’re weak. People hold their weight differently and as long as they are happy and healthy, it shouldn’t matter if they don’t look a certain way. It’s crucial for adults to understand that kids need to be taught positive body image as well as healthy living.
Don’t Go Overboard
Forcing your family on restrictive diets and too much exercise can negatively affect everyone’s health. If your family is fond of sugar and treats, it’s not a good idea to cut them off entirely in one go. Neither is it wise to push everyone on these excessive exercise routines. Getting healthy isn’t an overnight process. It’s a journey. Start off slow. You can begin by reducing sugar consumption by limiting deserts after meals. And you can encourage everyone on short walks by parking a block or two away from your destination. Then you can keep reducing more treats as days and weeks pass and maybe even introduce an exercise routine everyone can do.
Healthy Living Tips
- Start the day right with a healthy breakfast. Besides the standard milk and cereal, let your kids enjoy a delicious fruit smoothie or a breakfast burrito of egg, cheese, and salsa. A health breakfast will give the family the energy they need for the day so always be mindful of what you and your kids eat first thing in the morning.
- Make sure everyone stays hydrated throughout the day. Encourage your family to drink a glass of water every other hour and limit carbonated and sugary drinks.
- Don’t force your kids to clean their plate during every meal. If they can’t finish their portion of the meal, don’t punish them for it. Just make sure that they’ve eaten enough and, next time you serve their plate, adjust their portion accordingly. Let them ask for seconds if they want more.
- Schedule outdoor family activities such as hiking, camping, or biking. Your family will be encouraged to stay active and they’ll learn to enjoy and appreciate nature.
- Don’t forget about dental care too. Remind everyone in the family to brush their teeth twice every day. Teach your little ones how to floss too. A healthy set of teeth can go a long way.
- Encourage cleanliness and proper hygiene at appropriate times. Kids are prone to be messy, especially after an afternoon of playing outdoors. While you can’t and shouldn’t stop your child from running around and exploring, you need to let them know that they need to wash their hands and face before they can eat. They’re not going to like being told to clean themselves so it’s a good idea to get creative. Make a game out of who can wash their hands the fastest and the cleanest.