You and your loved ones can benefit from establishing healthy habits now. It’s especially good for children who will model your behavior.
People, societal norms and culture play a huge role in who we become and the habits we acquire. The habits we start in the earlier stages of life will set us up for success or failure, which is why it’s critical that as adults, we help our families set healthy habits. The earlier we set these in life, the more likely these habits will have a lasting effect.
Not only do these habits affect us, but they also affect those around us. It’s a win-win! Research shows children learn best by observational learning, which is watching another individual’s behavior, attitudes and emotional expressions and modeling them. There are so many easy ways to help establish healthy habits and the positive effects are endless.
Here are some great ways to implement those habits into your day-to-day routine as a family:
- Start your day off right. One thing that was impressed upon me and my husband earlier in our youth was that our parents started their days off early before work. They would take a couple hours before work to sit in the stillness of the morning to wake up and read while drinking tea or coffee. This practice helps you mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepare for your day. While I don’t believe that a lot of us are early birds, I challenge you to try it.
- Take family walks.This can not only aid in digestion after a meal, but also help for a more restful night of sleep. This is also great way to get some movement at the end of your day and spend time together as a family.
- Eat at home. Now, this is not always realistic. We have hectic schedules and when it comes down to it, it is better to eat out than to not eat at all. But there are so many benefits to eating at home. It is not only cheaper to eat home-cooked meals, it is also much healthier. You control the ingredients and you decide the cost.
- Go to the gym. Go as a family! Who said going to the gym could not be fun? It is important for children to not only see adults and parents work out consistently but also to see them having fun while doing it. This falls right into observational learning. In my youth, going to the gym as a family was a regular activity. It wasn’t always perfect, but watching my family take those steps to be active together has been imprinted into my brain to this day.
These are just a few ways to help implement healthy habits into your family and children’s everyday lives so that you can help set them up for success.
Some of the best advice I have ever received is to live by example. Are you living your life in such a way that you want people to follow it? There are so many good habits that I continue today because my parents took the time to show me the importance of exercising your body, eating healthy foods and feeding your soul. It all counts and pushes us toward who we are created to be.
Whether you are a parent, teacher, coach or boss, we all have the power to be of influence — but it starts at home with our families.
Hannah Franklin is a Wellness Director at the Plant City Family YMCA.