It can be difficult to create a healthy family environment for children if not all family members follow the same routine or prioritize making healthy decisions. Creating routines can benefit the physical and mental well-being of families trying to meet work, school, recreation, and home needs. Below are ways to improve family health by creating habits, nurturing relationships, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
- Exercise is an important aspect to improve the health of both the individual and the family. Parents and children can set aside time every day or certain days of the week to exercise together. As a fun activity for quality time with the family, options include a family walk around the neighborhood, a friendly game of basketball or football, yoga, skipping rope, and more. Exercising together will help create an atmosphere of camaraderie and motivation to achieve the goal of better family health.
- Cook and eat a few meals a week together. Depending on the age and maturity of the child, cooking is a great activity integrating both meal preparation and nutritional education. Families can research new recipes to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy recipes or create new recipes using favorite healthy ingredients.
- Pick an unhealthy habit to quit, such as cutting down on soda, candy, chips, or other snacks, or cutting down on screen time at a certain time of the day. Parents can stop drinking sugar-laden sodas to choose healthier options, and kids can give up screen time after dinner to find new, creative activities with their siblings or parents.
- Find ways to reduce stress together. Children and parents experience stress for different reasons, but families can help reduce each other’s stress by spending time together. For example, choose a time each day to read as a family, or reduce the noise level in the house and use a quiet, calm activity to distract from the stress. Yoga, sports, drawing or coloring, or playing games together are great ways to reduce stress for all family members. Some parents or children may prefer to relieve the stress only through their hobby or activity, so families can also use some time to be separated from each other.
- Show gratitude after every good deed or through a daily activity, such as a gratitude jar or plate. Each family member can write a note thanking the family or individual family member and put it in the jar or write it on the gratitude board. Families can take time each evening after dinner to read their thank you note. Parents and children should often thank each other.