You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

What can we do to raise healthy, happy children?

healthy family

So much more to raising a healthy family than just nutrition and exercise!

I can remember looking at our first daughter Corri when she was first-born.  My heart was full and being the type A personality that I am, my mind was already thinking about ALL that Brad and I needed to do to provide her with the best life possible, one that was healthy and happy.  We all want healthy, happy lives for our families.  Usually when there is talk about this, there are obvious suggestions that come to mind….eating healthy, exercising and good sleep are typical thoughts.  Great ideas….but let’s expand on those…what can we really do as a family to be our best, enjoy our lives, and raise healthy happy truly joyful children?

Let’s get physical….makes me think of Olivia Newton John’s song!  Well, I just showed my age!!  Seriously, physical activity as a family is one of the key elements to health and yes happiness!  Good for the body and good for family unity.

  • As a family plan outdoor activities together.  Make a list of fun activities that you want to do together OUTDOORS!  Hikes in the park, bike rides, picnics, learning tennis or golf together….the list is endless.  The key is making a plan….put it on the calendar.
  • Play a video game.  Those of you who know me will say “What did she just say?”  Yes, video games are a part of our society…so give in, play one with your kids as a family, but make it an active nonviolent one.  There are lots of video games that incorporate movement and fun.  We have had a family “tennis tournament” that resulted in a video remote being thrown through a TV screen by a child who will remain nameless….but we know who she is!
  • Make your house and yard work “fun”!  Play music, have a competition to see who finishes chores first, jump in the leaves as you rake them.  Life is full of chores, why not enjoy them as much as you can and break a little sweat too.

Enjoy eating…and eat well.

  • Family meal time is so important for a healthy family.  Studies show we have healthier family relationships, better students, happier kids, and we eat healthier when we eat together!  Planned meals result in healthier meal choices.
  • Make sure that your kids know where their food comes from and what real food looks like.  Farmers markets, gardens, local farms, produce stands all are fun outings and result in healthier eating.
  • Don’t just fix “kid food”.  Open up your child’s pallets by offering wide varieties and tastes.  A steady diet of nuggets and mac and cheese is no fun for anyone…and results in unhealthy patterns for the future.
  • Make sure that your family is not drinking their calories.  Soda, lots of juice and even our favorite mochas, frappes, and lattes can be packed with calories.  Reintroduce water….make it fun; invest in water bottles for everyone in your family!

Take care of mind and inner spirit…bring on the peace

  • Root your family in your spiritual and moral beliefs.  Children who have moral and spiritual guidance feel secure, make better life decisions and are more joyful in their day to day life.
  • Make your home a place of joy and peace.  Life is crazy, your home should be less crazy.  That means trying to keep clutter at a minimum so you can rest your body and mind!  Remember, kids can be overstimulated easily too.  If overdrive is the one word you would use to describe your home, it is time to rethink.  Simplify the routine, decrease the activity; this increases the peace.  Children need to learn how to be in a quiet peaceful environment with only their own thoughts.  Parents need alone time and children need to learn how to have alone time.
  • Make sure you have date nights.  Healthy relationships between parents are the basis for happy families.  At least one date night a month results in more than just a happy relationship…it results in a family that feels secure for your child.
  • Volunteer as a family.  Teaching your child to give of himself results in a child who will develop empathy and a passion for others.  This world will be a better place if we all learn to be selfless through action.
  • Hug and kiss each other every single day.  Touch is one of the most effective ways to show your family they are loved.  Did you know that touch decreases stress?  Your blood pressure and heart rate will decrease with loving touch.  So reach out and hug your child who is on the verge of a meltdown, give that stressed out husband a big kiss (that may actually increase his heart rate! :)) and snuggle up to him when you need a little calming, touch works wonders.

Doctors and the birds and the bees

  • Be sure that everyone is up to date with physicals and immunizations.  Get your flu shot every year.  Know your important numbers like blood pressure, cholesterol and weight. Know your family’s health history and risks.  Prevention is the key to physical health.
  • Moms do monthly self-breast exams and Dads do testicular exams.  Get your screenings as needed including mammograms and colonoscopies.
  • Be open about the birds and the bees with your children.  Studies tell us that we still are not doing a great job in this area, too many kids just get the “talk” once…it needs to be intertwined into your family values.  Help them develop healthy appreciation for their sexuality.  Prevent misinformation; let them learn from you so you can teach the moral values that come along with the knowledge.

Simple right?  This is a great start to helping your family be healthy and happy, better yet JOYFUL……isn’t that what we want for our children?  What would you like to add?

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


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