Family habits are much more than a simple activity carried out at home in order to raise a healthy family. It is a way of life that unites the entire family and strengthens the eternal bond of love and support that each member of the clan shares. Early childhood is the ideal time to instill healthy family habits in your child because they are more likely to grow into it and stay healthy in their later years. We will go over healthy family habits and the characteristics of a healthy family in greater detail.
11 Simple But Effective Healthy Family Habits
Let’s look at the top 11 Simple But Effective Healthy Family Habits that promote a healthy family and help shape your child’s future.
- Share a meal
Families tend to eat healthier when they sit down for a meal together rather than eating in “shifts” or grabbing food on the go. Vegetables, fruits, and whole foods are consumed more frequently than processed and fatty foods.
In addition to the physical benefits of eating healthier foods, research shows that spending time with family members helps children get better grades and avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs.
If your family does not currently share many meals together, this may not happen overnight. Begin with a goal of two meals per week. Stick to it, increase the frequency over time, and make it a habit.
- Prepare a meal together
Cooking meals together is also beneficial for a healthy family. Not only is homemade food healthier in general, but family members who cook together spend time together and create memories. The kitchen is often the focal point of a home, so it’s a good place to gather.
Making meals together also allows for the transmission of family recipes. Cooking teaches children valuable life skills, and the work is shared, so Mom or Dad does not have to feel like meal preparation is solely their responsibility.
- Arrange for Vacations Together
How often do you go on vacation with your family and have to deal with whiny kids? Something is too boring, or you are overworked. Involving the entire family in vacation planning may be beneficial.
Giving children a say in family plans allows them to communicate and advocate for what they want to do, as well as consider other people’s opinions and even learn to compromise. If you’ve gotten into the habit of the parents being authoritarian when it comes to planning activities, you can certainly try to get everyone involved.
- Value Alone Time
As enjoyable as it is to do things as a family, it is inevitable that all members of a family will want some alone time — and this is a good thing.
Spending time alone allows one to reflect, unwind, problem-solve, and do other things. It’s especially important in this age of connectedness when everyone seems to have a mobile device tethered to them, to allow each other to disconnect when they need to. Healthy families practice mutual respect for each other’s alone time.
- Improve Your Listening Skills
Parents aren’t afraid to talk to their children. However, productive conversation is a two-way street, which means that talking with your children is essential — and talking with someone entails more than just talking.
True conversation requires listening, and healthy families make it a point to listen to one another rather than simply taking turns speaking. What you say to your family members is not as important as what they say to you. Family members who engage in two-way conversations are more understanding of one another and thus closer.
- Make Health a Habit
If you want to develop healthy habits, make health a routine that everyone in the family follows. When it comes to structuring family routines for health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes consistency, predictability, and follow-through.
That could imply that everyone in the house brushes their teeth after dinner at the same time. It could imply that no one consumes sugary snacks after a certain time of day. It entails scheduling regular checkups, limiting screen time after a certain hour, and ensuring that everyone gets enough to sleep each night. Consider alternative health options such as acupuncture for the family for a more advanced approach.
Make these things a daily habit, and your family will develop healthy habits.
- Exercise Physically
“Eat less, move more,” is the physical fitness mantra, especially in light of the current childhood obesity epidemic. Healthier eating habits can be obtained by following some of the previously mentioned habit-building strategies, but if you want your family to move more, you must make an effort.
Take walks or bike rides as a family. Make plans for fun weekend activities. Before cutting the cake at a family gathering for a birthday, organise a relay race. That hasn’t stopped me — by the time I was 70, I had already completed 42 Ironman races.
The takeaway is that you can schedule activity into your day, and healthy families move frequently. It also works in reverse: people who exercise regularly are more effective in their family roles.
- Schedule Some Downtime
Families are extremely busy. There’s homework, sports schedules for the kids, and social events to attend. Weekends, in particular, can feel like you’re constantly hopping from one place to another.
If you need a break from all the activity, your family most likely does as well. It’s great to fulfil social obligations and keep the kids occupied, but sometimes you just need to relax. If your weekends are always booked, make it a habit to set aside one weekend per month with no plans.
Take some time off. Give your spouse some space. Allow your children to rest. Spend a Saturday morning in your pjs with your kids watching cartoons. Take an unplanned weekend and see where it takes you.
If planning active days for your family benefits your physical health, taking lazy days to relax and do nothing can benefit your entire family’s mental health.
- Collaborate to Learn
When their child returns home from school, how many parents ask, “What did you learn today?” It’s quite common.
But what if your child reversed the script and asked, “What did YOU learn today?” Could you respond to them?
Being a lifelong learner has value. There’s a reason why people dislike know-it-alls. If you, as a parent, can shoulder the same responsibility for your child to learn something new every day, aren’t you and your child both growing?
There are numerous studies that show that being a lifelong learner is essential for success. Every parent wishes for their children to learn new things. So why not mix things up? According to research, this strategy adds significant value to the entire family’s home life.
As a family, watch educational shows or documentaries. Start a family book club or even write a book about a topic that interests you. In many ways, your children are not your peers, but learning new things together can help to level the playing field by encouraging inquisitiveness in your child while also letting them know you are open-minded.
- As a family, watch the news together.
Children can be terrified by the news. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably had moments when you’ve thought to yourself, “I hope he/she doesn’t hear this.”
However, guess what? They most likely do hear it. And, because some things in the news can be confusing at best and frightening at worst for children, it’s important to digest news as a family.
As a parent, this is your opportunity to reassure your children. It is their opportunity as children to express to you the extent of their understanding of things as well as any reservations they may have. Your instinct as a parent may be to shield your children from events such as school shootings and war, but they will hear about them. It is healthy to digest the constant stream of information together and to take the time to digest and discuss it.
- Be open and truthful
Relationship counsellors will tell you that being open and honest with your partner is essential for a healthy relationship. The same is true for families, which are frequently an extension of an existing relationship.
That is why it is critical to be truthful with all members of a family. It is especially important not to conceal anything. If you’re a spouse and a parent, you want your partner and children to be open and honest with you, so you should practise being open and honest with them as well.
Trust is one of the foundations of a healthy family, and trust can only be established through honesty and openness. Don’t run away from the truth. Don’t think that being secretive will protect your family. Honest and open discourse is how societies advance, and developing the habit of being consciously honest and open with family members is a critical component of creating a healthy dynamic.
Family life can be challenging. Not all families qualify as “healthy.” But if you want to be in that category, here are some guidelines to help you develop habits that foster healthy families.
While different families may benefit from their own unique strategies, one thing is universal:
Making a commitment to a healthier family is an investment that never stops paying off.