As a health-conscious parent, you understand the importance of regular exercise and healthy eating, but it isn’t always easy to help your kids understand the importance of making healthy habits. By instilling the following good habits in your kids, healthy eating and regular exercise can become their lifestyle at an early age.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn
If you want activity to be a lifelong priority in your child’s life, you must show them that it’s a priority in your life too. Whether you realize it or not, your child is watching your every move and modeling his habits after your own. Make sure you’re being a healthy role model and doing what you can to help your body be healthy.
Keep the perspective on your healthy lifestyle positive. A negative attitude toward being active can instill a defeatist outlook for you and your children before you even begin. Instead, be excited for the daily opportunity to get out and work your body to the full potential. A good way to help that is to find something you love doing, like yoga. There are many different styles of yoga to try out, so check out a local studio and find the perfect class for you.
Does a tight extra-curricular schedule make it tough to motivate yourself? Get strategic with your scheduling and find a gym or local yoga studio that’s close to your child’s school, soccer practice or violin lessons so you can squeeze some rejuvenating time for yourself after school drop off or during a practice or lesson.
“Cleanliness promotes better health.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita
One of the best ways to encourage your child to eat healthy food is by learning more about it and getting as close to the source as possible. Start with weekly trips to the farmers market to buy all of your vegetables and fruit for the week from local farmers. Have your children each choose one or two vegetables that they want to eat during the week to help the kids become more active participants in meal planning and preparation.
Get the whole family a little more involved by building a raised-bed garden and growing your own vegetables. From the design and construction of the planters to the planting and maintenance of the garden itself, there’s ample opportunity to bond with your kids and help them learn a little more about the building blocks of life. You’ll likely find that your picky eater is a lot more receptive to trying new foods when he has grown them himself.
“Meditation is the soul’s perspective glass.” – Owen Feltham
In an age where distractions are at our fingertips and quiet is often in short supply, it has become all the more essential to tune into your internal world with a regular practice of mindfulness. This is the simple act of being present in the moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgement.
Regular practice of mindfulness has been shown to increase empathy, emotion regulation and attention, while decreasing stress and even boosting immunity. Mindfulness in children has been the subject of much study in recent years and has even led to the integration of the practice in schools throughout the country. One example of this is the MindUP program, a research-based program with a neuroscience focus for elementary school children, developed by actress Goldie Hawn and a team of leading neuroscientists, educators and psychologists. MindUP has been found to help kids thrive academically by decreasing stress, bullying and anxiety while increasing compassion, empathy and conflict-resolution skills.
take a family yoga challenge
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
Combine mindfulness practice and activity by practicing yoga together as a family. Many yoga studios offer family classes or get a DVD to guide your practice to get comfortable with the moves.
Take a family yoga challenge and commit to doing a pose a day, together as a family, for 30 days. Make it even more fun and set up your smartphone on a tripod and video each yoga session. The kids will love seeing how you all look twisted into each day’s pose.
If you’re live near an evolation yoga studio, you can take part in a 30 day challenge to see how transformative a regular practice truly is. Starting January 15th, many evolation studios will collectively participate in a global 30 day challenge to promote healthy habits and start the new year out right. Many say it takes 21 days to make a habit stick, but we thought about throwing in a few extra days to help it really stay.