Tips, Tools and Activities
January is all about New Year’s resolutions, so why not make it your resolution to focus on building a Healthy Family Home! Sit down with your family and brainstorm a healthy resolution for each Healthy Family Home pillar to reach this month. Perhaps your Eat Healthy resolution could be to try one new fruit or vegetable each week in January. Involve your children in shopping for this new food, finding fun recipes, and preparing the meal for the family. For your Play Every Day resolution, consider designating a weekly family game night. Since it’s cold and you might not be getting outside as much, play games that encourage physical activity. Try Simon Says with jumping jacks, wheelbarrow races, or indoor scavenger hunts. Make Getting Together a priority by making a resolution to eat at least one meal a day together as a family. Expand on this by assigning each family member a meal to plan every week.
Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle for the entire family. To make bedtime more of a pleasant experience, make it a family affair. Routines are very important - set regular go-to-bed and wake-up times for everyone, and be sure to follow them even on weekends! Read your child a short story every night before bed, or play some soft relaxing music as they drift off to sleep. Make sure bedrooms are dark and quiet, with just a little nightlight if your children want one. Get your child a soft blanket or a teddy bear to snuggle with at night for a sense of security and control. Find a routine that works for you and your family and stick with it. You’ll know your children are getting enough sleep when they fall asleep easily after being tucked in to bed, wake up easily in the morning, and stay alert during the day.
Play Every Day
While winter does mean more time indoors, it doesn’t mean you and your family have to sit around. It’s still important for your children to play for 60 minutes every day. Construct an indoor obstacle course to get them up and moving, have a dance party, play follow the leader with fun exercises, have a game of hide and seek, play charades or do the hokey pokey. There are plenty of options â€“ get creative! Find ways to play every day to help keep your children healthy and strong, and when you make it fun it can be a great bonding experience as well.
Q: My kids tend to "graze" all day long rather than eating three substantial meals. Should I be discouraging this? How do I know they are getting enough to eat?
A: Children are excellent self-regulators when it comes to their appetite - they will eat when they are hungry, and they will choose how much they need to eat at that point in time. This, combined with the fact that children this age are growing in to their newfound independence and wanting to make more of their own choices, can make it seem like your child is not eating a variety of foods. While this can be frustrating, remember that they can regulate their own appetite, and continue to offer a variety of healthy food choices throughout the day. This means meals and snacks. Make small meals count by offering fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Remember: you can leave it up to your children to decide when and how much to eat, but you alone are the boss when it comes to deciding what foods are purchased and offered!