How would you describe your family’s health? Are you chugging green smoothies and logging workouts while your kids pick at their dinner and stare at their screens? Or does your teenager run two miles a day while you’re sneaking chips in the pantry?
It’s time to get everyone on the same page! We’re sharing 4 tips to create a family wellness strategy that everyone can get on board with.
- Break the cycle
Many health issues are genetic, and bad habits can be passed down from older family members. What do you do when the odds are stacked against you? The answer is not to give in! Instead, choose to empower yourself and your family by making the decision to break the cycle. Your family’s health is on the line here!
Breaking the cycle might look like giving up smoking or drinking, limiting trips to fast food restaurants, or turning off the television after an hour or two. Reflect on any negative behaviors you might have inadvertently picked up on from your childhood, and pick one thing at a time to improve and change.
While breaking the cycle might sound intimidating, consider that you’re not only positively impacting your own health, but also providing a good example to your children and to your aging parents!
- Get everyone engaged
Once you’ve started taking ownership of your own habits, you can begin to implement them into your family’s routine. If your children are little, take advantage of your unchallenged authority and announce new rules. Perhaps each family member gets a fruit or vegetable on their plate at mealtimes, and everyone takes a walk together after dinner.
If your kids are older, involve them in the decision making process. Your idea of being active might require dumbbells and a treadmill, whereas your teenage son might want to play a few rounds of Ring Fit Adventure or Dance Dance Revolution. Start with your family’s health goals and work backward until you’ve come up with a solution that works for everyone.
Cooking together is a great way to engage your kids in making healthy decisions. If you have an older child, he or she might be interested in baking a healthful treat or preparing a meal. Check out these simple kid-friendly recipes to get inspired!
- Use positive language
The best way to make these habits stick is through encouragement and positive reinforcement. Your family’s health will take a major nosedive if you allow negativity and shame to creep in. Try not to view fast food or screens as the enemy. Instead, learn about how food fuels our bodies and use age-appropriate language to describe it to your family. Examples include, “carrots make our eyes strong” and “this food has protein, which gives our bodies energy!” Teach your kids to notice what foods make their body feel good, versus foods that give them stomach cramps, fatigue, or headaches. (Again, modeling this behavior yourself will set a great example!)
Be kind to yourself if you slip back into a bad habit. If you shame yourself when you step on the scale, you’re believing the lie that a number will make you happy — and you’ll be teaching your children to focus on numbers, too. If you want to binge-watch TV on a weekend, or crave a greasy pizza, let yourself enjoy it! Denying yourself isn’t a sustainable health strategy. Instead, enjoy the pizza or show, then jump back into your normal routine.
- Keep the future in mind
How do you envision spending your golden years? The choices you make for yourself now are also impacting your future. Imagine being able to afford family vacations with your adult children instead of spending your money on expensive medical bills. Imagine having the energy to play with your grandkids. If you haven’t already, now is the time to make your wellness plan. Consider including the following: exercise, heart-healthy foods, preventative chiropractic care, and activities that boost your mental health. Keep the future in mind the next time you’re tempted to skip a workout, and it might be just the dose of motivation you need to hit the gym!
Are you ready to get your family’s health on the right track?