We all try to be perfect parents, but it’s challenging. Our lives are busy, and so many factors influence our kids. However, you can set your kids up for success by promoting healthy habits for your family. Your kids might not want to go to bed early, but it’ll pay off in the long run.
Affordable and healthy habits for your family
Good habits don’t have to be pricy. Most have a low cost or save you money. The following affordable and healthy habits apply to just about anyone.
Limit Screen Time
Technology is helpful in our lives. It’s how we connect to work and school, get news and watch our favorite entertainment. However, there is too much of a good thing sometimes. Screen time can take a toll on your physical and mental health. You should set screen limits daily to ensure your kids aren’t burying their faces into iPads, gaming consoles and TV screens all day.
In childhood, brain development is crucial. Research shows over seven hours of screen time inhibits the cortex’s growth. Technology can be helpful and educational for families, especially with young children. Kids can use TV shows and games to learn. However, it’s wise to set screen time limits for everyone. Use the time to play, read books and go outside.
There’s nothing like the great outdoors. The sun shines on your skin, and the wind blows in your hair. One way to limit your screen time is to get outside and embrace what nature offers daily. Going out and breathing the fresh air is beneficial, even if you only lie on the grass. The sunshine gives you vitamin D. This nutrient is essential for building strong bones and preventing diseases.
The best part about being in nature is the low or absent costs. Many state and national parks have low or zero entry fees and hundreds of square miles to explore. Look out for days when the National Park Service charges no admission for entry. These days include Veterans Day, National Public Lands Day and more.
Teach Kids How To Handle Money
Personal finance is a topic often learned later in life, and that’s a shame. For this healthy habit, I’d say, the earlier you can teach the little ones about money (aka financial literacy), the better it will be for them.
Now, do we need to be teaching 5 year olds how to use a credit card? No. Teach something that children can relate to. Start with an allowance of say, $1, or $5 a week. And then, have them give the money a job.
Parents can also use games to teach kids about money. You can also teach teenagers to start a budget, and let them decide how they want to use the money that they earn. Will they spend it? Save it? You’ll be surprised at their decisions.
Promote Proper Hygiene
When returning home, it’s essential to clean up and maintain hygiene. Outdoor fun means your kids can come home covered in dirt, sand, mud and other debris. The last thing you want is the kids spreading the mess into your home. Set an example for your kids by promoting proper hygiene in the house. Create regular bathing schedules and instruct your children to wash themselves when dirty.
The pandemic has taught us the importance of personal hygiene. Send your kids to school with tiny bottles of hand sanitizer to clean their hands after using the restrooms and other facilities. Ensure the hand sanitizer has at least 60% alcohol for the most effectiveness. Hand sanitizer with higher alcohol is effective — however, be careful about the alcohol concentration. Teach your kids to never ingest or sniff hand sanitizer.
Cook at Home
Eating out is a fun treat. The upbeat atmosphere and the incredible-smelling food are often tempting. Dinner from restaurants is also convenient for families who don’t have a lot of time. However, the costs can quickly climb because restaurant food is often more expensive. Supply chain issues have made prices even worse. Some restaurants have increased prices by 35% or more due to these disruptions.
The best solution is to cook at home – it’s not only healthy, but, a money saving habit everyone should know how to do. Making dinner at home is more effective and often healthier because you control all the ingredients and portions. Make a habit of cooking dinner as a family at least once a week. You’ll enjoy bonding experiences and slowly teach your children how to cook over the years. They’ll be ready to cook for Gordon Ramsay when they move out.
When outdoors, you’re more likely to exercise. Starting good habits with exercise at a young age is crucial for children. Your kids should embrace playtime as integral for their bodies. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says physical activity improves your children’s respiratory system and reduces the risk of health conditions like heart disease. Find time for you and your kids to exercise daily.
Kids look to parents as role models, so get up and be active with them. You could play with them in the backyard or ride bicycles in a local park. If your kids like sports, sign them up for team sports like soccer, baseball and softball. Engage with your kids and practice with them. They’ll be more motivated if they play with you in mind. The added interaction and attention, coupled with physical activity, has the benefit of helping your kids with healthy emotional growth.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial for our health. Our days depend on how much sleep we get the night before. You need rest to be a productive employee at work. Your kids need enough sleep before they go to school in the morning.
Nightly rest affects your kids’ physical and mental growth. They need to sleep at night to let their mind soak in what they learned today and prepare for tomorrow. An adolescent’s brain releases hormones during sleep, allowing the mind to grow and repair throughout the night.
Getting your kids to bed can be a tricky adventure. They want to stay up and play and be around you. Set the example by going to bed at the same time as them. Start a nightly bedtime ritual by turning off electronics at least an hour before it’s time to sleep. Your brain needs time to wind down before it can rest. Again, it’s essential to be a good role model and go to bed simultaneously with the kids. They’ll be more likely to go to bed and try to sleep.
Starting Good and Affordable Habits
As parents, we try to achieve perfection with our kids. We can’t help them every step of the way, but we can start them on the right path. Use these six affordable and healthy habits to promote wellness with your entire family.