All parents want their children to be as healthy and happy as possible. Sadly, it’s not always easy to encourage kids to embrace habits that are good for their bodies and minds, and home can sometimes be a battleground. In this handy guide, we’ll share some top tips to help parents champion healthy living.
Get active as a family
Increasing activity levels is a brilliant way to enhance mental and physical health for adults and children. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, or you’re keen to encourage your children to be more active, why not make changes as a family? Go for bike rides and walks together, try active hobbies and activities in your spare time and incorporate exercise into your daily regime. Play outside in the garden, go for a walk every afternoon after school, spend the weekends playing sports or exploring the great outdoors, or look for classes, teams, or groups you can join in the local area. From dance, trampolining, and hiking to climbing, playing tennis, and swimming, there’s something for everyone.
Healthy eating is crucial for the body and mind. Try to encourage your children to think about what they eat from an early age. Teach them about the nutritional value of different foods and cook together at home. Have fun with making meals and look for ways to make healthy food more accessible to kids.
Present vegetables in a way that will make your children more inclined to try them if they tell you that they don’t want to eat their greens, and search for inspiration for healthier treats like a black bean brownie recipe or low-fat baked sweet potato wedges.
Aim to include a wide range of ingredients in your menu and various meals. Include plenty of fruit and vegetables and whole grains and try to moderate sugar, salt, and saturated fat intake.
Spend more time outside
Studies suggest that being outside can enhance mental health, reduce stress and help people of all ages to feel calmer and more relaxed. We all like to have movie nights and the odd afternoon where we cuddle up on the couch and watch TV, but it’s hugely beneficial to get out and about as a family. Go for regular walks, take your bikes out, visit national parks or local parks and beaches and enjoy some fresh air. You can also unwind and spend quality time together in your garden if you have outdoor space.
Implement evening routines
Most parents are keen to get their kids into a routine in the evenings, but sleep regimes can also be beneficial for adults. Experts recommend around 8-11 hours of sleep for children and 6-8 hours of sleep for adults. If you have a routine, this will help to make sure that everyone gets the rest they need. Use the evenings to de-stress, wind down and get ready for bed. Set a bedtime for children and adults, and try to stick to the same time each night.