As the school year kicks back into gear so should the healthy habits that you and your children have practiced. Notice how I said “practiced,” because we all know during the summer-vacation months we tend to indulge a little. Maybe you have had one too many backyard barbecues, or three too many trips to your favorite ice cream shop down the street. Whatever your summer vice may be don’t worry about it, you can regain those healthy habits from before and introduce them into your children’s lives!
So to help you get back into the swing of things, here is a list of 7 ways you can communicate healthy habits to your kids to set the tone for a fun and healthy school year:
1. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.
Get everyone in the family moving, don’t just emphasize the idea of being active to your children without participating in the activities. In addition to making it fun for the whole family, exercising as a unit will allow you to interact with your child and help them stay healthy and active. It can be as simple as a walk after school or after dinner or a family yoga or aerobics session. My kids love doing exercise videos with me, and often like pretending to be teacher!
2. Eat a Variety of Foods.
Don’t just stick to the same food regimen. Make sure you try a vast array of different nutrient-rich foods to boost the health of yourself and your children. There are many different vitamins and minerals out there, and if you just stick to the same old mac n’ cheese menu with the occasional lasagna, you are missing out on an abundance of healthy nutrients for your children!
3. Limit the Screentime.
It is no stranger that we live in a world constantly absorbed by some type of technology. From work to leisure time, technology is present in our life in one shape or another almost 24/7. But, it is best to try and limit these habits. They promote a lifestyle with less movement and activity, it has been shown to lead to increased obesity and cardiovascular disease. So try and limit your child’s time behind the screen and get them moving.
4. An Important Meal For School Kiddos: Breakfast.
Fuel up! Before you send the kiddos off to school and bring yourself into your "favorite place," aka work, make sure to create a nutritious breakfast. A breakfast loaded with carbohydrates, milk, cereal and fruits is a great way to regain all the energy lost from the previous day. My favorites breakfasts for my kids? Gimme Some Oven No Bake Energy Bites. You can decrease the sweetness by adding some coconut oil and decreasing the honey and/or substituting dried fruit for the chocolate chips, or any number of variations - including the ones included in links on the page. The flax, oats and chia provide great fiber and essential fatty acids, the nut butter excellent protein and healthy fats. My kids love to make 'em and eat 'em, its a win win!
5. Pick Rewarding Rewards for Your Kids.
Sometimes parents tend to reward a job well done or the completion of chores with a trip to the ice cream shop, some candy or a new video game (if you’re feeling really generous). Change the types of rewards and incentives you present to your children. Maybe take them on an excursion to their favorite park, or another outdoor adventure, whatever you decide make sure it is creative and helps to influence healthy habits in your children.
6. Eat Fruits and Vegetables with Every Meal!
We have already emphasized the importance of eating healthy, but there should also be a frame of reference for what this means. One way to encourage healthy eating is to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet. A neat way to do this is to have fruits and vegetables as a snack during every meal period.
7. Be the Best Role Model.
Your children tend to emulate and copy they way you behave, so why not exhibit healthy habits that they can catch on to and then practice themselves. Be the best role model possible for your children and work together as the both of you craft and practice healthy habits for the new school year and beyond.
Until next time, enjoy trying to incorporate some of these healthy habit kickstarters into your week with your family, and so will I!
Yours in health,
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.