There is a myriad of benefits that a healthy family lifestyle brings us. A family that lives a healthy lifestyle gets sick less often, is more satisfied with their lives, and is happier as well.
Parents are responsible for teaching their children how to live such a life. It is quintessential to start doing it from an early age, as this is the best way for children to acquire such habits.
However, we can get lost easily and disregard some essential healthy lifestyle habits due to the many obligations of life and a lack of time.
That’s why we’ve prepared this guide to help parents with kids incorporate some simple but effective habits into their daily routines to live a healthier lifestyle for the whole family.
Essential Habits for Families to Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Families should begin with the basics, which includes establishing healthy eating and hydration habits. Family members should also be active and exercise regularly .
As far as screen time is concerned, parents should limit screen time. And because quality sleep is important for good health, you should also establish and follow a bedtime routine.
Also, parents should create time for quality family time. Getting regular health checkups is another important aspect of keeping your family healthy and happy.
Since stress is a trigger for many health issues, we should all try to avoid and manage stress as much as possible. That entails employing various stress reduction techniques like spending time with nature, listening to music, exercising, and practicing guided meditation.
Let’s explore those essential healthy family lifestyle habits in more detail:
1. Establish healthy eating habits
Families should really pay attention to what they eat. Nowadays, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of eating junk food, as it’s so accessible, affordable, and we don’t have a lot of time on our hands to prepare healthy meals for the whole family—or so we think.
The key we need here to ensure we eat healthy is organization. That means that you should stock up on staples for a healthy diet and always have it ready at home. Then, you should find some simple and nutritious and healthy recipes you can easily make for your family at home.
Designate appropriate time for preparing and cooking the food. If the family members participate in preparing healthy meals, it can be done in no time. Plus, it can be considered quality family time! Make sure you also have healthy and delicious snacks on hand as well for you and the kids.
2. Stay active
Being physically active is key to staying healthy. Both adults and kids benefit a lot from physical exercises and being active. This is especially important as the majority of us do sedentary jobs. Staying active not only boosts our physical health, but it also helps relieve stress and anxiety.
You can incorporate more moving around in your daily routine by doing simple things such as using the stairs rather than the elevator whenever possible, taking kids to the child care center on foot if it’s nearby, and walking instead of using cars when possible.
Besides those things, also designate some time for playing a sport, swimming, or going for a walk together to the park or around your neighborhood.
3. Keep everyone hydrated
Water, as the old adage says, is life. It is important that everyone in the family stays hydrated throughout. This a healthy habit that we sometimes need to force ourselves to do.
People need water to function properly. Water boosts our energy levels, brain function, and overall health. You can also get water from fruits and vegetables to stay hydrated.
Remind kids to drink pure water often. You can even use tricks such as silly drinking straws, fun ice shapes for cooling drinks, and flavoring water with fruit.
4. Limit screen time
Nowadays, both kids and adults spend a lot of time looking at the screens on our phones, tablets, and computers. This is not something that’s optimal for our health. Limit it as much as possible.
Of course, we can’t exclude screen time completely because we need it either for work, school, or sometimes fun. However, we can limit it in the family and use our time for something healthier instead, such as being active and spending quality family time together.
Screen time should be limited not just for kids, but also for adults. Kids observe and copy everything parents do, so you should lead by example.
5. Follow a bedtime routine
Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. During sleep our bodies and damaged cells repair and regenerate. This is important as it provides us with the necessary energy to face the challenges of the following day. That’s why it’s crucial to establish and follow a bedtime routine.
Make sure the family goes to sleep approximately the same time every day so that they get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of shut eye each night.
We also enjoy the benefits of an early start and the family is able to function at their best the next day after they’ve had a refreshing and restful sleep each night.
6. Spend quality time together
Quality time spent with family is also a big part of a healthy lifestyle. During this time, kids can share their feelings, learn from parents, acquire communication and social skills, and have their emotional needs met, while parents can share thoughts, family values, guidance, and more.
Even though parent may be very busy and overrun with obligations, we should always create time away from our busy schedules for quality time with family—at least once a week, if not every day over breakfast or dinner.
Quality time fosters strong bonds, connection, and love among family members. During family time, you can do different things together to bond and get to know each other better, such as enjoy a meal, read, watch a movie, go for a walk, visit a museum, or play indoor games together.
7. Reduce stress as much as possible
Stress has become very common these days, unfortunately. And chronic stress is linked to many health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and insomnia. Stress destroys health.
While it is normal to experience small amounts of stress every once in a while, and we cannot completely avoid it, families should learn how to deal with stress and take proactive measures to manage it, such as eating healthy, exercising, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Also, take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to distressing news, make time to unwind, and talk to others (parent, friend, counselor, doctor, or pastor) about how you are feeling.
And teach kids not to stress out about things that they have no control over and to always look for the bright side. It will help them (and adults, too) feel less stressed.
8. Get regular health checkups
Do not skip regular family medical checkups, including visiting the dentist’s clinic. If you go for regular health checkups, any emerging health issues can be identified and arrested early.
With regular health checkups, you also teach your children to be proactive about their health.
Making the switch to a healthy lifestyle is not always easy, but it is essential for families. Start slowly by incorporating one health habit at a time and allowing yourselves to get accustomed to it. Overtime, you will incorporate many health habits that allow you to lead a healthy lifestyle.