As a parent, you need to model healthy habits so your kids can copy your practices and grow into healthy adults. Starting a new year is a great time to bring back the focus on setting goals to improve your child’s health and that of your whole family. Read on to discover ways you can do that.
1. Eat Healthy Family Meals Together
Eating a family meal together helps children develop healthy eating habits. The meal becomes a time for the family to reconnect with each other and discuss all that happened at school and work during the day. This family tradition helps to improve family relationships and promote healthy eating habits that teach your kids to love nutritious food. Cooking the family meal doesn’t have to be burdensome. It can become an activity done together. Healthy recipes are designed to feed four to five people, which is the perfect amount for a family meal. Make this year the year when the shared family meal becomes a priority in your household.
2. Spend Time in the Great Outdoors
Being active with your children is a great way for families to spend time together. It will make your children more likely to ditch their electronic devices and have fun with mom and dad. You can do any activity that takes you out of the house, like playing soccer, riding bikes, or any other activity your children enjoy. If you don’t like playing sports, take your children for a nature walk or hike. Hiking together improves physical, mental, and relationship health, as found by research done by the National Park Service. If you’ve never hiked before, this year, as part of your goal to improve your child’s health, is the time to get off the couch and take your children walking in nature.
3. Consider Child Therapists
If your family is going through challenges in 2023, consider how the upheaval is affecting your child’s mental health. They may need more emotional support or someone to talk to about their feelings. At least one in five children (age 13-18) has or will develop a mental illness during their life.
This year, to ensure your child is not suffering in silence, pay attention to signs that they are struggling with depression, anxiety, or anger. They may not be able to cope with these feelings alone and may need additional help from a child therapist.
4. Eat More Veggies (But Avoid Harmful Diet Culture)
Keeping a healthy weight is a big part of overall health for children and adults. It’s easy to take dieting to the extreme. Boston Medical found that about 45 million Americans diet each year. Young girls are particularly vulnerable to falling into the diet culture as they can become victims of peer pressure to conform to the unattainable standards of beauty.
Getting your children to eat more vegetables at meals is a great way to ensure they get all the vitamins and minerals they need for growth while maintaining a healthy weight. The American Heart Association recommends that kids in grades K-5 eat at least one cup of fruit and vegetables daily.
5. Keep Soda and Energy Drinks Out of the House
As we said in the beginning, children copy adults. So, if you regularly drink sodas, they will also want to drink them. As nice as soda tastes, commercially produced soft and energy drinks are extremely damaging to your physical and dental health. Soft drinks contain a large amount of sugar, which causes havoc with your body systems, and the dietary acids present in soft drinks are a major contributing factor to dental erosion. The best way to ensure your children do not drink these sugary drinks is not to buy them. Keep them out of your home.
These are the five ways we recommend you use to improve your child’s health this year. Parenting is a big responsibility, and you need to take it seriously. However, do not forget to have fun along the way. Happy children are healthy children and grow up into well-adjusted adults.