You probably know one of those families – you know, the ones where they all seem to get along together, the kids respect the parents, and everyone seems healthy and fit? So what’s their secret?
It’s probably not a secret at all. In fact, most likely the family you’re thinking of right now practices all or most of these 8 simple healthy habits. And they’re not that hard to cultivate!
Just keep these 8 healthy family habits in mind, and make small changes towards achieving these on a regular basis, and your family may be the one someone is soon asking, “what’s your secret?”
1. They Get Outside And Play Together
…These days, there are so many cool things to do on a screen, indoors, so it’s important for parents to encourage kids to set aside devices and get outside, setting a good example with their own participation. When you increase the family activity level with a trip to the beach, a hike or a bike ride, not only are you getting physical exercise, which is key for good overall health, but the family also gets more time together to bond.
2. They Have No-Phone Zones
“There have to be times during the day when the family is together, when no technology is allowed,” says Dr. Jennifer Caudle, board-certified family physician… “No iPads, no iPods, no phones, texting, tweeting — none of that.” She suggests that families come up with a plan that outlines times and spaces where screens are off-limits, such as at dinner table, in the bedroom and during designated homework time….
3. They Make Meal Prep A Fun Family Activity
Invite your kids to tackle dinner this week… They’ll need some guidance, but having children participate in meal prep and be a part of the cooking process is a great way to promote healthy eating habits…. Getting kids more involved in all aspects of food shopping, prep and cooking will likely make them more interested in learning about smart, healthful food choices.
4. They Organize Their Schedules Around Good Health
…To keep your family on the track toward healthy living, try getting a calendar and putting it in a place where everyone in the family can see. Then use it: Schedule the night the kids are in charge of making dinner. Add the once-a-month family bike ride to the park or the weekly driveway basketball game.
5. They Rethink Snacktime
…Look for ways to make healthy choices easier and within reach after a long day at work or school… Keep within easy reach snacks such as veggies and hummus, almonds and fruit; when you and the kids are low on energy after a full day, it’ll be easy to grab the cut-up carrots and celery or an apple from a bowl on the kitchen table.
6. They Communicate
Almost all experts suggest families eat meals together. “Not only is it about quality time,” Caudle says, “but also it’s about talking and discussing and sharing….” Mental health, sleep, experiences at school and how they’re interacting with others are so closely linked, and if something is bothering or troubling a child, it will affect their overall well-being.
7. They Wind Down Together At The End Of The Day
The whole household (parents, too!) should be winding down during the hour or so before bedtime, Orma says. Read together or individually, or play a game (after homework is finished). This should be a time of the day away from TV and electronics, when the family is spending time relaxing and interacting, he says. This sets up everyone for a good night’s sleep, so all will be well rested and feeling strong and healthy in the morning.
8. They Know How To Keep Exercise Fun
Not only do healthy families get outside and play together (see #1, above), they know staying active is a lifelong habit — and routines can become dull after a while…. Families should consider yoga, running or high-intensity interval training in order to mix things up….