Healthy habits make happy families. Start your new year the right way with these six healthy habits that your family will love.
Just like riding a bike, our lives are ruled by habits, both good and bad: saying “I love you” every time you hang up the phone, biting your nails, locking the door whenever you leave the house, hitting snooze one too many times, and more. This year, you might want to break some of those bad habits.
But unfortunately, there’s no real way to “break” a habit—you can only change your behavior. And the easiest way to do that is to start a new healthy habit in its place. For example, when you want to start biting your nails, get up and take a short walk.
Here at Familius, we believe that healthy habits make happy families. Following our 10 Habits of Happy Families, here are six healthy habits for your family to start today.
6 Healthy Habits for Families
The key to adopting and maintaining these healthy habits is to make them enjoyable and sustainable for the entire family. Gradual changes tend to be more successful than drastic overhauls, so take small steps towards incorporating these habits into your daily life. Additionally, lead by example, as children often learn healthy habits by observing and imitating their parents.
1. Have Regular Family Meals
Aim to have regular family meals together. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even second breakfast, sharing meals fosters communication and connection. This is invaluable time for you and your family to share your thoughts, aspirations, and concerns, which will not only improve your family’s bond but also their well-being. For kids, it has the additional benefit of developing important communication and social emotional skills while letting them feel secure in their family relationship.
If you want to take this a step further, prepare and enjoy nutritious meals together. Involve children in meal planning and preparation to instill healthy eating habits and develop life skills.
2. Exercise as a Family
Incorporate physical activity into your family routine. This could be as simple as taking evening walks, going for bike rides, or participating in family-friendly sports. The time you spend together will not only promote physical health but also strengthen family bonds. Just make sure to choose activities that everyone can enjoy, and be positive! If you want to make exercising a habit, it has to be a fun and positive experience.
3. Go to Bed Earlier
According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults doesn’t get enough sleep at night, and 40 percent of adults report falling asleep during the day without meaning to at least once a month. While this is a problem for adulthood, it often starts in childhood. Either way, sleep needs to become a priority. Ensure that every family member gets adequate sleep by establishing consistent bedtime routines. And to promote better quality of sleep, you can even create a better sleep environment by keeping bedrooms dark, quiet, and cool.
4. Stay Hydrated Together
Clear skin, weight loss, improved immune system—the benefits of water are endless (if not exaggerated). But nevertheless, drinking water is important, and it’s certainly better than drinking too much soda. Encourage your family to drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can set a goal to drink a certain amount of water daily and make it a shared effort. It’s never too late to start this healthy habit, but your kids will definitely appreciate starting it earlier.
5. Brush and Floss Your Teeth Twice a Day—At Least!
Good hygiene practices like regular handwashing, dental care, and overall personal cleanliness are so, so important. These healthy habits contribute to your ability to make and keep friendships, absolutely, but they also improve your overall health and well-being. Good oral hygiene specifically can improve your gums and lungs, reduce risk of diabetes and cancer, improve pregnancy, and so much more. So make brushing and flossing your teeth a habit. The earlier your kids start taking care of the teeth twice a day—at least—the less they have to worry about cavities now and health complications in the future.
6. Read Together Once a Day, Once a Week, Once a Month—All the Time
How long has it been since you’ve read a book, whether for yourself or out loud to your kids? If you can’t remember, then maybe it’s time to start. Dedicate time to reading together, even if it’s just sitting quietly in a room. This practice has so many benefits: developing reading and social emotional skills, improving family relationships, and even promoting brain growth. And discussing books afterward can be a fun and educational activity.
Healthy Family Habits Nurture Relationships
Spending intentional time together helps create a strong sense of unity and connection within the family. By incorporating these habits, you’re not only promoting physical and mental well-being but also nurturing the relationships that make your family unique and special.
Books That Help Families Develop Healthy Habits
Big Book of Family Games
The Munchy Munchy Cookbook for Kids
The Day Punctuation Came to Town
Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.