When it comes to healthy living, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by trends and the pressure we can feel on a daily basis to constantly make “healthier choices” for ourselves and our children. As parents, most of us try to shape our daily lives in a way that fosters physical health, emotional well-being, and strong bonds with and among our children. As we watch our kids grow, the hope is that they will one day take responsibility for their own healthy choices, but we know the foundation for all of those healthy choices is often built at home. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up five no-nonsense ways to introduce your kids to a healthy lifestyle.
Model healthy habits. Taking care of your own physical and emotional health is crucial for your wellbeing and sets an important example for your children. When your kids watch you engage in habits like exercise, healthy eating, or meditating, they learn the value and benefits of healthy living. So, take care of yourself fully and without apology, and chances are your kids will start to do the same.
Make meals a family affair. Involve your kids in grocery shopping and meal prep, and eat together when you can. Establish positive vibes around mealtime and food. Consider creating a simple ritual at dinnertime, like everyone sharing a “high” and a “low” from the day.
Get outside. Prioritize physical activity outdoors every day—go for a walk, ride bikes, explore a nearby park or hiking trail, or play a game of tag. Be curious about nature alongside your kids—dig in the dirt, collect rocks and leaves, or plant an herb garden that’s easy to care for filled with delicious ingredients for your next healthy meal.
Foster a culture of rest within your home. Aim for consistency around bedtime for you and your kids by establishing a simple and achievable bedtime routine. On long days at home, plan for a midday time of solitude (for everyone!) in the form of a nap or quiet time.
Read every day. Reading builds self-esteem in kids and strengthens the bonds between kids and their parents. Encourage your kids to explore topics that pique their interest. A visit to the local library can be a thrill for kids if they’re given autonomy to select a few books entirely on their own. And let your kids see you reading on your own—these moments are a big part of raising kids who are “readers” and you can even encourage them to hunt for books about healthy activities they can take some ownership over.