School is out!! Here are some ideas for creating and encouraging healthy habits for your kids!
- Grow a garden with your kids. Build a garden and eat/cook the veggies from the garden. Have your kids help you plant, weed, water, and pick the vegetables. Some high-yield, easy-to-grow options include parsley, basil, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, bush beans, onions, carrots, and radishes. If you don’t have room for a garden, visit the farmer’s market and let your kids pick out some of the items you buy.
- Create meal plans as a family and then shop and cook them together. Teach your kids how to cook/make meals that include lean protein and vegetables and talk about the importance. Cooking with your kids is a great opportunity to teach them measurements, conversions, and cooking skills. Plus, it gives them vested interests in the finished products.
- Sit down as a family to eat. Eating together causes us to slow down and become more aware of what we eat. It takes approximately 20 minutes for the brain to register fullness after eating. Talking to your family about their days’ activities helps everyone avoid overeating. Plus, you can model nutritious eating habits for your kids to follow.
- Do activities in the evenings together. Instead of watching TV in the evening, play a board or card game, go for a family walk, or hike. You could also find a book series that you all will enjoy and read it together. Find an activity that doesn’t involve screens which you all can do together!
- Set family fitness or movement goals. Have a step count challenge. Prep for a family fun run. Set up an obstacle course in the backyard. Have a dance competition. Come up with fun prizes that don’t include food or treats.
- Set aside specific days/times to enjoy a dessert or treat. On Sundays, bike to the community ice cream shop and get a cone. Maybe stop at the candy shop after going for a family hike. Be intentional about it and don’t feel guilty enjoying a treat together.
- Volunteer in the community or create family projects. Some Volunteer Ideas: Choosing and helping to deliver food donations to your community food bank or shelter. Downsizing toys and stuffed animals and donating them to your local hospital or thrift store. Participating in a food or clothing drive to help other families in your community. Make cards to send to senior centers. Draw pictures and write thank you notes for police and fire personnel, doctors and nurses, teachers ,and veteran auxiliaries to show appreciation. Do a good deed for an elderly or disabled neighbor, like tidying their yard or garden, running errands, doing chores, or delivering a handpicked bouquet from your garden or a homemade meal.
- Do summer projects/chores together. Include your kids in summer projects like cleaning out the garage, building a shed, planting flowers, or updating the landscaping. Teach them some simple skills and what it means to work hard. Studies indicate kids who grow up helping others develop empathy and gain a sense of self-satisfaction, meaningfulness, and happiness.
Kids often pick up habits from their parents or other role models in their lives. Demonstrate positive habits while they’re young so that they will be set for a healthy future!!