Monday, October 09, 2023

How to involve your famiy in your healthy lifestyle

Changing to a healthy lifestyle is good for both your physical and mental health. Eating right and exercising are key to better sleep, reduced risk of depression and overall wellbeing. So now you've made the decision to get healthy, how do you get your family on board?

In this simple 3-step guide we'll show you just how simple it can be to involve your whole family in your healthy lifestyle so that you can ensure you all stay fit and healthy as a family.

3 tips to involve the whole family in your healthy lifestyle

So, your children won't eat their veggies and moan about walking for more than 5 minutes? Don’t panic, here are three top tips to involve the whole family in your healthy lifestyle. 

1. Take baby steps.

There’s a saying we’ve all heard, that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. This can be applied to many areas of our lives, but in particular, adjusting your family to a healthier lifestyle. Even adults find adjusting to a new routine hard, so why do we expect children to change their routines overnight? In a world that expects everyone to ‘do it all’ and ‘do it now’, you need to offer time and patience to your family as you try to embrace a healthier lifestyle. A few tips for taking baby steps include:

  • Prioritise one change at a time so no one feels overwhelmed.
  • Live by example, after all, you can’t ask them to change if you’re not sticking with it.
  • They say it takes 21 days to create a habit, and 90 days for a permanent lifestyle change, so give your family time. 
  • Don't forget that looking good makes you feel good and may make it easier to accept change.

Top tip: You don't have to bribe your family to start living a healthier lifestyle, but sometimes a little incentive or reward at the end can be just the thing. Why not take your children for a haircut and pamper or encourage your partner to get a fresh shave with a new electric shaver (treat them or yourself and click here!)

  • Give everyone a role to play, from older children helping chop the veggies to toddlers putting fruit into bowls for dessert.
  • Start with a simple schedule and work up from there.

Top tip: Don’t forget to have the schedule printed or written up somewhere for the whole family to be able to use it.

2. Make sure your children have a chance to learn, play, and help with meals.

Involving your children in all aspects of their diet is a key way to both introduce good nutritional habits and ensure they have a healthy relationship with food. A few tips for this include:

  • Why not try growing your own herbs, fruit, and veggies in the garden?
  • Involve them in the meal planning and shopping for the weekly food.
  • Get creative together by whipping up a homemade soup or making your own pizza. 
  • Explain what different food groups help with such as leafy veggies and carrots for eyesight, protein for growing, fatty fish for improved sleep and whole grains and fresh fruit for better mental health.
  • Allow them to play with their food outside of mealtimes such as making food art. This could encourage them to try new things. 
  • Don’t use food as a form of reward or bribery, instead implement a predictable meal and snack schedule.
  • Allow them to clear their own plates, and give them autonomy over their meals (within reason). 
  • Don’t force them to ‘finish everything’. Most toddlers and children will be a little fussy about food, and knowing when to pick your battles is important.

3. Make exercise fun.

A healthier lifestyle and more physical activity for your family won't happen overnight, but you can make it easier by making it fun. Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Choose toys carefully. For example, a game console encourages them to sit and play, while a ball or equipment for tennis or cricket encourages physical play.
  • When heading out, look for activities that increase movement. This could include crazy golf or a game at the bowling alley.
  • Start short trips outside. You could do a quick walk around the park before heading to the playground and build up to the 5-mile hikes.
  • Encourage outdoor activities. From bark rubbings to orienteering, and bird spotting to scavenger hunts there are plenty of fun ways to spend time outside.
  • Make mundane daily tasks more fun. Why don’t you all do squats while brushing your teeth or watching dad use his electric shaver, dance to your favourite songs while cooking dinner, or skip down the stairs instead of taking the lift (if it’s safe, of course – don’t rush it) and make boring daily routines a bit more fun and energetic?

It really is that simple. Not every day will be a good day, however, with time it will all become routine. Don’t forget, it’s important to listen to your family and involve them in every aspect of your healthy lifestyle to really make it work.

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