Healthy eating and exercise are two habits that many people focus on. Setting personal health goals is a great place to start, but it’s even better to take your family on a healthy journey together.
And it’s also a good idea to broaden the scope of your family’s healthy habits to include every aspect of your life. Brushing your teeth, wearing a safety helmet and washing your hands are just a few of the healthy habits you can incorporate.
As children get older, it can be challenging to change habits they’ve already developed. So, don’t put off helping your child develop healthy habits. They will soon develop good habits that will last a lifetime.
19 tips you can try together as a family. If you’ve already put in a lot of effort, give yourself some encouragement. Make a note of what you want to work on with your family.
19 Healthy Family Habits Worth Trying
1. Fold the quilt
This simple good habit is often overlooked. Tidy bedding helps you and your children start the day with positive energy. At the end of a long day, a tidy bedroom will make you feel more comfortable.
Keep track of the dates you folded your quilts on a chart so your family can see them. You can also have a quilt folding contest to make it fun to get into the habit. Showing your children your tidy bedroom will help them understand how important this daily chore is to you.
2. Hand washing
Hand washing is probably the most important habit to maintain good health. Washing your hands before and after meals is effective in keeping germs at bay. Therefore, teaching your family the importance of hand washing is critical to maintaining good health.
Parents should remind their children to wash their hands frequently throughout the day. Children who have difficulty washing their hands independently may need a stool to help them reach the faucet. Also, you need to teach your children how to properly wash their hands by rubbing them with hand sanitizer and rinsing them with warm water for at least 20 seconds. Germs can spread from person to person and make people sick. Teaching this important habit can help prevent the spread of unhealthy germs, which can make your family and community healthier.
3. Eat breakfast every day
Your family’s day starts with a healthy habit, and that is eating breakfast. At the start of a busy day, breakfast is often the first thing people skip to save time. Stick to healthy habits and make sure your family eats breakfast every day.
It’s one of the best ways to combat overeating during the day. Breakfast fills you up early and gives you sustained energy all the way up to lunch. If you need some time-saving and easy breakfast suggestions to help you get into the habit, try poached eggs, fruit, or nut butter on whole wheat toast bread.
4. Brush teeth
It can be hard for kids to remember to brush their teeth twice a day. But this habit is essential to maintaining good oral health.
This is because stains and bacterial deposits are removed when you brush, and preventing stains and bacteria from building up on your teeth helps you maintain good oral health.
So, make it a habit to brush twice a day to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Brushing for two minutes at a time is the recommended length of time. You can put a timer in the bathroom to help your child brush for two minutes. You can also sing a song or play a piece of music to make brushing fun for your child.
5. Tidy up the room
Keeping your living environment neat and organized is a healthy habit that every family member can participate in. Your time at home will be more enjoyable if all items are in the right place. A clean home environment can help you turn your attention from clutter to your beloved family and healthy living.
Show your children where to put their toys, books, clothes and shoes. Help your child develop the habit of putting things back where they belong after use. Organizing your room is also a great way to teach your children responsibility and respect for their personal belongings.
You can organize your family into a team and set a timer for 10 minutes to tidy up your room. Compete to see who can organize the whole house the fastest. Assign your children different tasks each day so they can learn to sweep, wipe and dust. They will appreciate that you taught them to be tidy at an early age and that the children can keep their rooms tidy once they are on their own.
6. Turn off the TV
Watching TV can take up a lot of your free time. Sitting down and relaxing for short periods of time can be relaxing, but too long can be unproductive. Staying active and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle can be difficult if the TV is on all the time.
So, limit your TV viewing to an hour a day. Then turn off the TV and look for better ways to relax that work for your family. Bozzy tabletop games are also fun and accessible to every family member. These tabletop games can also help children build reasoning and problem-solving skills. Set a good example for your children by suggesting a game for everyone to play when they have reached their TV time limit.
You may even notice an improvement in sleep quality after you limit the amount of time you spend watching TV. Taking your eyes off the electronic screen will relax your eyes, avoid blue light radiation, and help you fall asleep more easily.
7. Get moving
When it comes to relaxing and playing with your family, exercise fulfills both needs. A regular exercise program is a good habit that the whole family can work together to establish. Instilling a love of exercise in your teenager early on can be a great foundation for a fitness habit that lasts a lifetime.
You don’t have to do a complicated exercise program to reap the benefits of regular exercise. Your exercise program can be playing basketball in the parking lot or dancing to your favorite song. When you bring the whole family together, you can enjoy family time and exercise at the same time.
Try to exercise for 30 minutes a day. If you have a tight schedule, make time to exercise by walking to school or biking to work. As a family, you can talk about how you can help build a good daily exercise habit.
8. Seek adventure together
Families that play together are closer. Going on a family-friendly adventure allows you and your beloved family to bond through exercise.
Recreating in nature is a great way to see the local scenery and enjoy family time. Hiking, biking, fishing and rock climbing are just a few of the outdoor adventures your family can try.
9. Wear safety gear
Safety is part of healthy exercise habits. Model safe play by wearing safety gear when appropriate. If children see you wearing safety gear while riding your bike, they will follow your lead.
Make it a habit to wear a helmet, leg pads or elbow pads before you go out to play. These pieces of protective equipment can protect you from injury and teach your children how to stay safe.
10. Protection from Sun Damage
Applying sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin from sun damage. Children and adults alike need to wear sunscreen before going out to play. Get into the habit of applying sunscreen voluntarily.
Teach your children how to apply sunscreen on their own. You can purchase mineral-based sunscreens for children that will gently protect their delicate skin. Remind each other to reapply sunscreen every two hours when you go out to play. Make it a habit to wear a hat to block the sun and protect your skin.
11. Match food colors with a rainbow of colors
Healthy eating is a good habit that the family can work on together. You often eat with your family, so this small group of your family can start focusing on healthy foods together.
Paying attention to the colors of your food is a great way to make sure you are providing your family with the nutrition they need. Whole foods are colorful. Bright reds, deep purples and dark greens make food look very appetizing and good for your health.
The color of fruits and vegetables indicates the type of vitamins they contain. Yellow foods are a rich source of vitamin C. Vitamins A and E are usually found in red and orange foods. Green foods are rich in calcium, iron and other important phytonutrients.
Divide and conquer in the kitchen to cook vegetables of all colors. A salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, red onions, yellow peppers and cucumbers brings together many colors and provides many nutrients.
12. Replace carbonated drinks with water
You can start this good health habit right away, and it’s a healthy choice that’s readily available and easy for adults and children to understand.
You know that carbonated beverages and high-sugar drinks are bad for your teeth and your diet. So, as a family, resolve to replace carbonated beverages with water (or milk for children). To help you maintain this habit, eliminate carbonated beverages completely from your home. Order a glass of water with your meal at a restaurant (children can order milk). Show your children your commitment to healthy habits by cutting out carbonated beverages altogether and offering healthier options to support their growth and development.
13. Try new foods
If the dishes you regularly eat at home are starting to get monotonous, try adding some new options to the menu. If you’re eating the same foods day in and day out, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet because your taste buds will start to get bored with the same foods. Fortunately, there are many ways you can try to keep your recipes and healthy eating fresh and interesting.
Adding spices to your food can significantly change the flavor of the food without changing the health benefits. Adding garlic, cumin, pepper and paprika to vegetables like sweet potatoes will give them a hint of spice. Adding turmeric, parsley or cilantro to brown rice will give it more flavor.
You can also experiment with different ways to cook your favorite foods. For example, oats make a great breakfast. But you may not have the appetite for a steaming bowl of oats in the heat of the season. You don’t have to give up healthy oats for doughnuts or pastries at all; overnight oats may offer a little something for you.
To make overnight oats, mix yogurt, milk, chia seeds and a drizzle of honey with a good amount of oats. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, you’ll have a cool bowl of breakfast. You can even add a few sliced bananas or chopped berries to turn it into a more delicious French oatmeal barfi.
14. Plan and prepare dinner together
You’re more likely to stick to a healthy diet if your family has a meal plan in place. Busy lives often bring the unexpected, but don’t be tempted to compromise your healthy eating habits with the convenience of fast food. Try preparing food ahead of time so you can cook healthy dishes quickly.
Kids can contribute by choosing what they want to eat for dinner. Encourage them to include lean protein, vegetables and whole grains in their meal plans. Write your dinner plans clearly on a calendar so that everyone knows what they will be eating that day.
You can also prepare dinner with your family. Cooking a lot of protein at once will make dinner go faster. Your children will enjoy being in the kitchen and participating in the cooking. Show them how to wash vegetables and season proteins like eggs or fish. They will enjoy the responsibility of helping to prepare dinner and enjoy their food more.
15. Learn to read labels
It may not be easy to understand what the labels on food convey. So, sit down with your family and read the labels carefully. Making healthy choices will be easier as you learn how to read the nutrition labels on your favorite snacks.
For example, let’s take a look at breakfast cereals together. The calorie content is usually located at the top of the label, and it indicates how many calories (units of calories) are in each point of food. Please note that one point of food does not necessarily represent a large bowl. Use a measuring cup or food scale to measure and explain to your child how much is in one serving of breakfast cereal.
The macronutrients listed below the calorie information indicate how many grams of carbohydrates, fats and proteins are in the food you are eating. Check how many of these carbohydrates are from added sugars. Avoid foods that contain a lot of added sugar.
Fats are usually divided into several different types. Some foods contain saturated fats, unsaturated fats and trans fats. Read labels and see which types of fats you can find. Avoid foods that contain trans fats and watch your intake of saturated fats.
All food groups contain protein. Turkey, chicken, lean meats, eggs, flaxseeds, chia seeds and nuts are all good sources of protein. Show your family how to find out how much protein is in each serving of packaged foods. Challenge yourself to eat foods that contain at least six grams of protein per serving.
Add vitamins and minerals and ingredient lists located at the bottom of food labels. Nutrients such as iron, zinc and folic acid are added to foods to help you meet daily recommended amounts.
As you read the ingredients, see which ones are at the top of the list. The higher up on the list means that the ingredient is present in the food at a higher level. For foods like bread, granola bars and pasta, make sure the whole grain ingredients are at the top of the ingredient list. Whole grain ingredients will keep you feeling fuller longer.
16. Practice proper money management concepts
Children should not be in charge of financial income and expenses, but they can play an important role in your family’s finances. Helping your children develop a healthy understanding of finances is one of the most valuable life lessons you can teach them. Get your children into the habit of keeping track of their spending and help them realize the importance of saving money.
Model for your children how to create a simple budget based on household needs. Show them where the family’s money comes from and how it is spent. You can have them read the monthly bills that come in the mail and keep receipts for purchases. Your children will be proud to help and better understand the valuable value of money management.
17. Get enough sleep
Getting to bed on time at night is not just for children; every family member should make every effort to get the recommended eight hours of sleep each night. Going to bed at a reasonable hour can help children and parents get enough sleep.
Remind your family (and yourself) that your body needs enough sleep to be productive the next day. Think about the energy you feel after you’ve had a good night’s rest. By relaxing early in the evening and getting up on time, you can set an example of healthy sleep habits for your family.
It’s hard to resist getting up to watch TV when you can’t sleep, but if your children see you, they may think they can do the same. Instead of sitting on the couch watching a movie when you’re feeling restless, try reading a book or meditating. These activities can help you calm your thoughts and fall asleep quickly.
18. Use praise to encourage each other
When you notice a family member making a great choice, praise them with words. In praising their healthy choices, your children will know that you see their efforts. Words of encouragement and affirmation can deepen healthy family habits.
Please don’t reward healthy lifestyles by “breaking” newly formed habits. An afternoon of overeating and laziness can undo your efforts, and it’s like going back to square one after all that work.
You can actually praise the effort it takes to maintain healthy habits with words of praise. Tell your children how proud you are to see them taking their health seriously, and encourage them to keep up the good work.
19. Use your parents’ example to practice what you teach your family
Developing healthy family habits from scratch requires family unity. If your children see that you are making changes, they are more likely to follow suit. If you are not doing what it takes to maintain healthy habits, you shouldn’t expect your children to either.
Give your children permission to politely correct your behavior. If they suggest you get up from the couch and go for a walk with them, lace up your shoes and step out onto the sidewalk. If they remind you to put the covers on, put the covers on.
Leading your family into healthy habits requires your participation. Practicing these healthy habits will show your children what they mean to you. If your family helps each other, you will be more successful in reaching your own health goals.