Creating a healthy family home

Promote wellness through eating, activity, relationships, nature and sleep

It’s no secret that life can be pretty hectic with school, sports and social commitments. However, you have the power to reinforce healthy outcomes for your family with these five easy tips to build a healthy family home:

1. Eat healthy
There are simple steps that even the busiest families can take in order to increase the number of healthy food and drink habits you build into each day.

The delicious crunch of fruits and veggies can be part of every meal and snack your family enjoys throughout the day and is important for your whole family’s health. Reach for 5 servings of fruits and veggies every day. Gradually swap sugar-sweetened beverages with healthier options like water, 100% fruit juice and low-fat milk.

2. Play every day
Put more play into your family’s day, and you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong.

To get 60 minutes of moderate activity throughout your day just add ten minutes here and 15 minutes there. Think of all the many choices you have from walking to gardening to vacuuming the carpet, let alone the fun you can have with your kids swimming in a pool, going for a hike, shooting some hoops, or taking a favorite pet for a walk.

3. Get together
Strong relationships are one of the cornerstones of health and well-being. One of the greatest gifts that you can give to your family is the time that you all spend together. Try to find an hour a day when your entire family has an opportunity to connect and share—be it at breakfast, dinner or bedtime.

Creating special one-on-one time with a child takes some planning, but the thoughtful gift of your time is one of the things that will help your child learn, grow and thrive.

4. Go outside
Good things happen when we unplug and go outside. Kids and adults benefit from contact with nature as well as unstructured play and exploration.

Nature engages all of the senses, helps children to develop curiosity and creativity, reduces stress and fosters a sense of wonder and a desire to explore and learn. Children who spend time in nature are also more likely to develop a lifelong sense of connection to and concern for the environment.

More children than ever are involved in scheduled, structured activities. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, free play helps children grow and develop toward important intellectual, emotional, and social milestones along their developmental journey toward healthy teen and adult years.

5. Sleep well
One of the best ways to raise healthy kids is to make sure they—and you—get enough sleep. Based on age, children need different amounts of sleep. Doctors recommend 10-12 hours per day for kids ages of 5-12. For adults, doctors recommend 7-8 hours per night.

When children do not get enough sleep, it can cause moodiness and impact their ability to learn in school. Additionally, recent studies have found links between sleep and obesity in children.

Restful sleep also has important short- and long-term health benefits for adults, including a role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning, and other vital functions.

On a roll?
Explore a collection of websites and resources to help keep your family healthy.