The beginning of every year comes with change, and with change comes the opportunity for a fresh start for your family. Creating good habits early on can help children develop into strong, healthy adults.
Here are seven ways you and your family can incorporate healthy, mindful practices throughout your day.
- Teach Your Children to Set Daily Goals
In the morning after your children wake up, take a few moments to check in with them and encourage them to set an intention for their day. Ask them what they’d like to accomplish during the day and then ask them to say it out loud. Setting intentions at the start of the day helps to increase awareness of emotions, behaviors, and actions, which offers new insights for change and helps to create new neural pathways in the brain.
- Practice Healthy Eating as a Family
Food serves as fuel for the brain as well as the body, so choosing nutritious options is a necessary step in cultivating a healthy life. When your kids are craving a snack, teach them why it’s important to avoid processed foods like chips. Teach them to opt for something healthy like fresh fruit and veggies and have easily accessible, healthy options for them. When we are mindful of what we choose to fuel our bodies and minds with, it often then becomes easier to make better choices every day for our health. Also, teach your children to slow down and make a conscious effort to enjoy the food that’s nourishing their bodies.
- Stretch with Your Kids
Sitting too much causes muscles to tighten painfully over time. Pay attention to your own posture throughout the day and teach your children to stretch with you. Make stretching a family affair.
- Don’t Miss Well-Visits
Annual well-visits are an important part of children’s overall health. This is an opportunity for the doctor to examine them and make sure they are growing and developing properly. It gives parents the ability to talk with the pediatrician about any questions or concerns they may have. Also, children get scheduled vaccines at these visits. These immunizations prevent diseases and help keep them healthy long term.
- Use Meditation to Help With Stress
Meditation is a self-care practice, and it can help children and adolescents manage stress. Dim the lights and follow these simple steps with your family:
- Lie down on your back
- Shut your eyes
- Place your hands at your sides
- Focus on your breathing
Simply doing this for a few minutes a day enables both children and adults to develop more resilience to stress responses over time.
- Be Active and Exercise
Being active has several benefits for the body both physically and mentally. Children ages 6 through 17 years should do at least 1 hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. In addition to building strong bones and muscles, exercising produces endorphins that help to combat symptoms such as fatigue, depressed mood, and sleep issues.
- Stay Connected with Friends and Family
At a time when social distancing is important to prevent illness, find creative ways to stay connected with your friends and family. Write letters, go on a hike, or participate in a virtual dinner with relatives or friends from afar. Engaging with loved ones is important for you and your family’s mental health.
Incorporating these tips in your life will help you and your family get a strong, healthy start to the year.