It’s that time of year again; time to put away the garland and embrace the fresh start the New Year will bring. Rather than trying to maintain resolutions just for yourself, consider incorporating three small changes to your routine that can have a big impact on your entire family’s health.
Add one new activity.
Start a new family tradition such as a daily walk after dinner or a weekly bike ride. Be creative and really take a look at the resources around you such as a walking path or park nearby. Don’t let the cold weather stop you – bundling up and making a snowman is a great way to be creative and stay moving. Regardless of the activity you choose, try to stick to a routine of always being active together during that particular time. This can be a fun way to burn calories and relieve stress.
Change one item in a packed lunch.
“Substitute soda or juice with water or low-fat white milk. Rather than packing the main part of your child’s lunch and having them buy unhealthy sides such as chips or candy from the vending machine, have them purchase an entree of grilled chicken, pasta or salad and then supplement their lunch with sides that you chose such as fruit, veggies or yogurt,” says Marisa VanSchuyver, MS, RD, CSP, LD, pediatric dietician at Dayton Children’s.
Incorporate one new way to better your child’s sleep.
“When kids don’t get enough sleep they can be at increased risk for obesity, poor school performance, behavioral problems and substance abuse,” says Dr. Melissa King, DO, general pediatrician at the Children’s Health Clinic at Dayton Children’s. Wind down before bed by doing something calming like reading or listening to soothing music. Stick to a routine bedtime and let them know as the time grows near. End screen time at least a half hour before bed, as it may stimulate their senses and delay falling asleep.
Although it can be really challenging to balance a healthy routine for both yourself and your child, by incorporating these changes you will be able to accomplish both simultaneously. There is no better time to start new healthy habits, as they will not only help your child in their daily endeavors but model good behavior intended to last a lifetime.