New year, new you.
The age of resolutions, goals and growth.
Now more than ever individuals and families are focusing those goals around what matters most– health.
But beginning a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy, especially when you’re trying to get the whole family to be healthier. Both adults and children need regular physical activity and healthy diets to feel their best. Whether your family has always tried to engage in healthy habits or you’ve finally decided that the family needs to start being more active, any person and family can become healthier.
Here’s how to begin a healthy lifestyle for you and your family.
1. Contstantly identify new and fun activities to do together.
If you want to get the entire family involved in a new healthy lifestyle, then you’ll need to identify fun activities, especially if you have younger children. The activities you decide on will have to be fun enough to get children away from their video games to get fresh air and exercise. However, you don’t want the activity to be too childish, especially if you have older kids who need something more focused to get them in the mood for exercise.
The good news is that identifying fun activities is easy. You can choose to do anything from a neighborhood scavenger hunt or running as a family to go on a family bike ride. Whatever you choose, the main goal should be that everyone gets outside and stays active.
2. Build routine for healthy habits.
Having a healthy lifestyle means you’ll need to build a healthy routine around activity. For example, if every member of your family is busy, you’ll need to find the right time of day to spend getting exercise together. You can choose one activity you’ll all participate in every day. The activity doesn’t have to be time-consuming, especially if everyone has already been active the rest of the day. Instead, you can choose something simple, such as taking a walk after dinner or going for a bike ride to get ice cream.
List out the activities you will do with your family and keep them on a calendar. Then, make sure everyone knows what time you’ll be doing the activity every single night. By building a routine, nobody will forget, and you can hold each other accountable.
3. Set measurable and attainable goals.
Everyone in the family will have different fitness goals, so you must determine goals for each person and the family as a whole. Consider the ages and fitness levels of everyone in your family. Once you have that information, you can find activities that will be beneficial for everyone. Each person should set their own goals and allow everyone in the family to track them. Write down everyone’s goals and keep them somewhere you will all see every day. Your family’s most important goal should be to stay active.
4. Discuss healthy eating habits.
Children don’t know what healthy eating habits are until they’re taught. If you want all family members to engage in a healthy lifestyle, you should talk to your family about what healthy eating is and how they can incorporate it into every aspect of their lives. Instead of keeping unhealthy snacks around, consider finding healthy snack alternatives that everyone can enjoy.
Talking to small children about nutrition can be simple by teaching them about the different food groups. As a parent, you’re the one in charge of most of the meals, so it’s up to the adults of the family to make healthy meals and snacks.
You can get the entire family involved in meals by coming up with a menu together so you don’t have to worry about any picky eaters. You can also take your children shopping so you can teach them how to find different foods in the grocery store and read food labels to learn about nutrition.
5. Promote sleep.
Sleep is essential for children and adults. By promoting sleep in your household, you can teach your family the importance of quality sleep. Instead of letting the older members of your household stay up late, consider setting bedtimes.
You should also be able to hold yourself accountable and go to bed at the same time every night. If your children are old enough, you can make a plan to all go to sleep at the same time every night so you know everyone in your family is getting a full eight hours.
6. Reduce stress.
Teaching children how to manage their stress when they’re young can help them live successful adult lives. By helping everyone in the family learn stress management techniques, everyone will be happier and healthier, allowing them to focus on other aspects of healthy living, such as proper diet and finding time for exercise. In addition, you can teach children stress management by teaching them healthy activities to do when they’re feeling stressed, such as deep breathing.
7. Practice gratitude.
Part of beginning a healthy lifestyle as a family is also learning about mental health. Teaching your children how to practice gratitude can be a great stress management technique, but it can further improve their moods by helping them focus on what they’re grateful for.
You can practice gratitude as a family by talking about what everyone is grateful for at the dinner table. You can also give everyone a journal and let them keep what they write down private. You can spend a few minutes together every night as a family writing in your gratitude journals without the need to know what anyone else is writing down.
8. Schedule regular check-ups.
Having yearly physicals for everyone in the family can help keep every family member healthy. Going to the doctor can help you catch potential problems with your health before they become major problems. Obviously, your doctor can also recommend treatments for health conditions that are chronic or long-term. But don’t be afraid to try new angles. For example, I learned in the last year from having an essential tremor, that your physician might recommend a treatment bracelet or physical therapy. I didn’t know either was an option until asking for more avenues of treatment.
The same goes for your kids and partner. Just ask. See what is available. See if there are natural remedies or dietary changes or exercises you can do to improve your health. Work with your doctor.
You should also commit to your dental health and visit the dentist every year. Going to the dentist as a family will help teach your children the importance of taking care of their oral health and ensure nobody has any cavities.
Getting everyone in your family to engage in a healthy lifestyle means finding ways to get everyone to make healthy decisions.
It seems simple, but I know it can be tough. Especially when it comes to rallying the little kiddos, and navigating a complex world right now in the pandemic.
But you’ve got this.
It’s a new year and a new opportunity to learn, grow and take care of yourself and the ones you love.