Board games, movie nights and vacations — lots of things are better as a family. And that includes getting and staying healthy.
So, moms and dads, get the whole family involved in moving more and eating right. If that sounds great in theory, but you’re not sure how to make better health a family affair, here’s a five-step plan:
1. Make family time active time. Bike to the library together or explore a nearby park. Encourage everybody to train for a charity walk or run. Is somebody’s birthday coming up? Celebrate with something active—a pool party, volleyball game or hike. And ask your kids for ideas on ways to be active as a family. Then follow through with some of their favorite picks.
2. Use screens with care. Every moment sitting is a moment nobody’s moving. Create a media use plan for each child that balances screen time with sleep, exercise and time away from media. For kids age 2 to 5, limit screen time to one hour a day. For kids under age 2, use screens sparingly–for high-quality content or video chatting with family–and only while interacting with your child.
3. Keep a family activity log. Track everyone’s progress and post the results on your fridge. For a sample log, go to morehealth.org/parenttips.
4. Provide healthy food choices. Put a bowl of washed fruit on the table where it’s easy to see and grab. And shop smart at the grocery store. Choosing good-for-you foods is easier when foods like chips and candy aren’t in your pantry.
5. Gather in the kitchen and around the table. Let your kids help you plan and prepare healthy foods. Eat together as a family too, as much as you can. Table time helps kids and parents stay close—a real win-win.
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; National Institutes of Health