Encouraging a Healthy Lifestyle for Your Whole Family
Health and wellness practices look a little different to everyone. But when it comes to your family, it's important to find a balance of having fun and keeping things healthy. While eating nourishing foods and getting exercise is a part of living a healthy lifestyle, wellness is about so much more than your physical body. It's also about how you feel on the inside and out — from the way you move in your body to the emotions you feel. It's all important, and it's all worth the effort.
There are so many ways to encourage everyone in your family to lead a healthier lifestyle, from your kids to your partner and even you. When you work together and encourage one another, it keeps the cycle going so you can all maintain a solid foundation of wellness in your home.
1. Don't Use Junk Food as a Reward
As a parent, it can be easy to say, "You can have ice cream if you behave" or "You can only have desert if you finish your vegetables." While these statements may seem harmless, they can build unhealthy associations with food that can follow your kids around for their entire lives. When your kids realize that junk food is a reward for good behavior, they'll start to build positive associations with it. They'll crave it more often and ask for it all the time. As they get older, they'll keep those rewards going by craving junk food after accomplishments or feeling good about something.
There are so many creative, positive rewards that can come as a result of good behavior that don't involve junk food. From movie nights to game time to an extra bedtime story, you can treat positive experiences as healthy rewards and take junk food off the table.
2. Let Your Kids Watch You Eat Healthy
Nothing works quite like setting a good example for your kids. So often, kids just want to be like the grown ups they see and do what they do. You can't drop a salad on your child's plate and eat a donut in front of them. Of course, they'll want what you have instead. However, when your kids see you happily enjoying a smoothie or delicious dish of rice and tofu, they may just crave a bite.
3. Take Family Walks
Walking is a great activity for people of all ages, and you can get the whole family involved. Walking is classified as a moderate intensity activity, which makes it perfect for getting some movement in without tiring everybody out before the day is even done. Planning a family walk even just once a week can have so many benefits, from encouraging quality time to getting everyone gently moving. Who knows? Family walks could bring about all kinds of active motivation.
4. Have a No Screen Zone
Whether you choose to make a physical no screen zone somewhere in your house or you'd rather set a few hours each day where electronics need to be tucked away, taking some space away from the drudges of modern technology can be a great thing for everyone — kids, adults and grandparents included. When it comes to kids, screen time can be detrimental to brain development and damage the eyes, and the prospect isn't much better for adults.
Having a no screen zone can encourage other quiet activities and entertainment like reading, drawing and journaling. If you place your screen time limits during the day, you can even turn it into designated outdoor time for everyone.
5. Meditate Together
Sometimes, the mental relaxation part of health and wellness is one of the most important parts. A family meditation practice can help you all feel more connected to one another while helping you all find a bit of calm and peace in your days. You can set a routine and meditate everyday before bed or when you all wake up. Even just five minutes can change so much when it comes to your mood and mindset.
6. Sit Down for Meals Once a Day
Gathering at mealtimes can give everyone a chance to check in, slow down and enjoy their food with intention. So often, people rush through meals and don't take the time to pause and enjoy time together. But having a family dinner where everyone has the chance to check in with each other, talk about the moods of the day and feel involved with each other's lives can improve mental health and connection for the whole family. Really, it's not the food that matters as much as the people you spend it with.
Get Healthy Together
While health is sometimes a journey made alone, one of the beauties of family is the chance you have to uplift and encourage one another. When you promote a healthy lifestyle in your household, you'll all grow together as you find wellness and connection.