More often than we realise, children watch and observe what their parents (and older siblings) say and do. As much as you’d like your child to have good manners, keep tidy and do well in school, cultivating habits that will help them stay healthy – physically and mentally are equally as important. We share with you five ways how you can build a healthy and happy family!
1. Eat Healthy
If your kids see Mummy and Daddy practise healthy eating habits – regularly having breakfast, eating their fruits and vegetables, snacking healthily and hydrating healthily, there’s a good chance that they would to!
How-to: Make meals fun for the kids! Involve them in grocery shopping and meal prep whenever possible. Let them pick their favourite fruits and veggies, cut them up in fun shapes (cookie cutters come in handy for these), make fruit skewers, smoothies, pancakes or assemble yummy smoothie bowls for breakfast! Or try a hand at creating food roses together!
Make healthy snacks available at home or on-the-go and cook with wholesome ingredients. Try infused water or fruity ice cubes for healthy and fun hydration. Most of all, teach your kids to fill their bodies with healthy, clean “fuel”! Start them young with these fabulous fuel for little ones recipe ideas! On a side note, if you are considering to go organic - we’ll allow you and your family to decide on that one.
2. Get Moving
Being active as a family not only makes both child and parents happy, it also reduces the risk of being overweight, having heart disease and Type 2 diabetes down the road.
How-to: The key to making exercise a habit is stop stressing exercise as a have-to-do. Instead, just have fun as you sweat out together! Explore the outdoors and play tag and run, Frisbee or hula hoops. Go hiking, cycling or swimming together. Remember to slap on sunscreen or wear caps to protect your skin. Make exercising a contest – kids love this! So if Daddy does 10 push-ups, the kids can do half and so on. Or turn on the music and do a family workout together!
What if your child is unmotivated to move? Try a system that limits couch potato time. Give your child three tokens a day – each one represents thirty minutes of sitting, leisure activity like watching the TV or playing on the iPad. Playing outside earns him or her bonus points to a healthy reward.
3. Keep Clean
Kids and adults tend to touch all sort of surfaces in a day. Think about it for a moment - door knobs, car door handles, lift buttons, tables, chairs and more. If only someone did a swab test, you’d be shocked to see the amount of germs lurking on these surfaces.
How-to: Regular hand washing can dramatically reduce the chance of falling sick. To make it less of a chore, you might want your kids to sing a fun 20 seconds tune or a couple of lines from their favourite song. While the kids may enjoy the suds from super-foamy varieties, these are often filled with harmful chemicals whose residual effect can add up in the long run. Do your entire family (including your babies) a favour and choose natural, SLS-free and toxin-free personal care products and lather up with peace of mind – be it lotions, hand washes, shower gels or shampoos!
4. Chill Out
In today’s society, everyone at home is busy – either with school, extra classes, work or social activities. While all these aren’t bad in themselves, getting caught up in a flurry of activities can subtly eat into (quality) family time.
How-to: Unwind as a family – we all, including our kids need some downtime. Jack Wetter, Associate Clinical Professor of Family Medicine advocates giving your kids at least an hour of leisure time a day, when he or she is involved in an unstructured activity. They can do whatever leaves them feeling relaxed - read, paint, colour, play or even, blow bubbles. Look at creative ways to melt anxiety away. Mum and Dad can join in or catch up over a cup of coffee while the kids are pleasantly engrossed. Or how about doing a family aromatherapy session together? Begin with slow, deep-breathing exercises with soothing background music and just calm down. Even eight to ten minutes can do wonders.
5. Nurture Positivity
“Kids often develop feelings about the way they look by identifying with their parents, so it’s important not to criticise your body (or each other),” Ann Kearney-Cooke, author of Change Your Mind, Change Your Body reminds parents. This applies to how parents carry themselves and the vibes they release when their kids are around them. The question to ask ourselves is, “What kind of atmosphere are we creating for our kids?”
How-to: Encourage your child and build their confidence when they show efforts and make good attempts. It’s not just excellent results and achievements that deserve praises. Even swinging on monkey bars can be an opportunity to boost your child’s confidence – tell them that they are strong and flexible. Always remember to praise in public and correct in private. Most of all, discipline in love and not in anger.
Start building a healthy and happy home today!