Updated: Jul 18
Article By Elena Stewart
We live in a busy world. Most of us have hectic schedules, and so do our children. The number of items on our to-do lists often dictates our diet, activity, and sleep. Keeping up with everything can lead to unhealthy choices centered around convenience for both you and your children. However, with a few tips brought to you today by the therapy team at The Parkey Group, your family can make healthy choices, even with a busy schedule.
Start making healthy lifestyle choices by being selective about saying yes to obligations. Of course, you want to do it all, but that is not practical or sustainable in the long run. When you over-commit, it is easy to make unhealthy choices such as eating junk food, missing out on sleep, or not making time for mental health and mindfulness.
Prepare Your Meals in Advance
Spend some time planning and prepping meals for your family one day a week. Whenever you can, involve your children in the process so they can provide input about what healthy foods they would like. Have your children prepare their lunches, and make older children responsible for planning and cooking one meal per week.
During this time, chop and portion ingredients or make entire meals. You can refrigerate or freeze your dinners to reheat during the week. Preparing in this way means you will be less likely to grab fast food or junk food when you have little time.
Keep your home stocked with healthy snack options for you and your children. When you establish a habit of eating healthy fruits, vegetables, and grains as snacks, your little ones will do this naturally. Cut up vegetables ahead of time and keep them in individual bags or containers, so it is easy for your children to grab when they are hungry or on the go.
Stay Active for a Healthy Mind and Body
Choose activities that help your children maintain a healthy body and mind. For example, look for family activities that encourage movement and bonding. Perhaps it’s a weekly hiking adventure or a bike ride around the city. You can even institute family walks after dinner. Whatever activities you choose, by enjoying them together you can instill healthy habits and enhance your family bonds.
Get Adequate Sleep
We all need sleep. Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into the habit of skipping sleep when you are busy. Make rest a priority for your family by shutting off all screens an hour before you want them to be asleep. Stay on a good sleep schedule, maintaining a regular bedtime for you and your children. Find out how much sleep your child needs and plan accordingly.
Set the Example
No matter what you say, your children will learn by what you do. When you model healthy habits regarding your food choices, activities, and goals, your children learn from your example. Set big goals you can achieve while being present for your children, such as finally pursuing that master’s degree in information technology or teaching you keep thinking about. Talk to your kids about what they hope to achieve now or in the future. Even little ones benefit from discussions about goal-setting and taking steps toward those objectives.
Parents have a lot to juggle during the day. It may seem intimidating to factor in healthy choices, but once you establish routines for meals, activity, and proper rest, you will find it easier to maintain beneficial lifetime habits.
The Parkey Group offers a variety of counseling services, and we also provide telehealth visits. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you find the tools to live your best life.