Healthcare media never fail to remind people about family health. If parents want their kids to be healthy, then they should set an example for them. But that’s often easier said than done. Adulthood and parenthood are full of challenges, so many people easily slip out of their “role model” selves when they want to unwind.
But if your kids often see you engaging in unhealthy habits, chances are they’d grow up with the same habits too. And it’s not only their physical health that is at stake but their mental health as well. After all, unhealthy habits also include not dealing with our emotions well. If talking about feelings is taboo in your household, your kids might never trust you with their emotional troubles.
That said, if you want your kids to grow up with a healthy mind and body, you must partake in healthy activities as a family. Start them young, preferably in their toddler years. It will be easier to make healthcare a family routine then.
Below are a few activities you can start off with:
Every morning, make exercise a part of your family’s routine. Physical activity benefits you too, considering that your hectic lifestyle pushes fitness aside. You don’t have to work out every day, but try to do it as often as you can. This will teach your kids that physical activity is important for their health, especially since they’re still growing.
These exercises are kid-friendly and fun:
- Pre- or post-dinner walks
- Household chores, if you really can’t dedicate time for specific exercises
- Errands like grocery shopping or going to the mall
- Bodyweight exercises
- Walking the pets
You can also look for fitness activities organized by your community. A charity walk, for example, gives your family both a chance to exercise and give back to the less fortunate.
Cooking and Eating Healthy Meals
Even if healthy food is available in restaurants now, teaching your kids to cook is still advantageous. It’s more cost-efficient and imparts a higher sense of responsibility to your kids. Making your meals requires budgeting, after all, something your kid will appreciate having learned when they become adults.
Family mealtimes are when kids begin to form a relationship with food. So always have something healthy on the table. It will make kids see healthy food as an integral part of every meal, not expensive or hard to make.
Talk about food as well, introducing different types of fruits, vegetables, and other healthful dishes to your child now and then. Let them see you prepare meals, too. You don’t have to ask for their help because they’ll assist you of their own accord when they grow familiar with the dishes you make.
However, involve them in everything that has to do with food. Go grocery shopping together, for example, so that they’ll see how you select foods. Try to steer clear of the junk food section to avoid tempting them to buy something unhealthy. But indulgent treats are harmless once in a while. Restricting them altogether can only distort a child’s relationship with food.
Family Dental Care
Many kids become afraid of the dentist because they don’t see their parents having a dental procedure done. But if you stay updated with your dental care and your kid watches your teeth being cleaned or treated, they’ll learn to appreciate dental clinics and dentists.
Of course, every kid is different, so don’t be disappointed if your kid still gets scared of the dentist even if you regularly visit your dentist. Dental equipment hardly looks kid-friendly, after all. But the fact that they’re no strangers to the dental clinic is advantageous. They’re familiar with the dentist, so it’ll be easier for your kid to trust them.
Go to the same trusted general dental clinic in your area instead of changing dentists every time. This will help your kid know what to expect each time they’re due for a dental procedure. Be honest with your kid before their procedure, avoiding words like “It won’t hurt.” Focusing on the negative like this only stirs their apprehension even more. Instead, tell them how their teeth are going to be much healthier because of the visit.
Mental Health Activities
Many teens and adults drift away from their families because many families don’t openly discuss feelings at home. Break that cycle by partaking in mental health activities as a family. Talk to each other about your days, interests, hobbies, and friendships. Validate emotions by letting your kid express their feelings, but teach them to do it healthily. Communicate. Value their well-being more than their academics.
These activities will strengthen your family’s bond and help your kids grow up to be responsible and empathetic adults. Make sure to stay consistent so your children know the importance of following your word.