If you’re anything like me, you have a list a mile long of things that you feel like you need to teach your kids as they grow up. You also have some everpresent mom guilt about not spending enough quality time with your kids. With this list of 5 clever family activities that build healthy habits, you get a chance to do both of those things at the same time!
If you have kids, you are aware of these hard truths.
Children will do as you do. Not as you say.
Your children want to be in your business ALL. THE. TIME.
Their childhood goes by too fast, and we will always wish we spent more time with them.
Some days those thoughts are pretty intense. They also give us, as moms, a great opportunity to spend time with them while also teaching them healthy habits. When we practice and share those habits with our children, they learn them so much better than if we just tell them what they need to do.
Children learn best by doing, playing, and experiencing. They also love to learn from the people they love best. That’s us! So here are some ideas to do as a family that helps teach your kids what they need to know while also allowing for some great quality bonding time.
5 Clever Family Activities That Build Healthy Habits
1. Eat at least 1 meal together as a family.
Eating a meal together as a family is a great way to teach your children healthy eating habits. This is the time when you can demonstrate eating from all 5 food groups. As your children see you eating fruits and vegetables, they are going to slowly start doing so as well.
This is also a great time to teach your children how to eat when they are hungry and how to stop eating when they are full. Overeating, in some form or fashion, is the number one reason people become overweight. If we can teach our children from an early age how to eat only what their bodies need, they will have a much better chance of maintaining a healthy weight as they get older.
Tips for a family meal together:
Pick any meal that all of the family can be present for. It doesn’t have to be dinner. Breakfast or lunch works well too.
Try to make sure everyone is eating the same foods. If they don’t see you eating healthy foods, they aren’t going to want to eat it either.
Put away electronic distractions such as phones, TV, and tablets.
Discuss topics that are interesting and engaging for everyone at the table, including the kids.
2. Talk about healthy foods and where they come from.
A great family activity is to talk about healthy foods and where they come from. This is a great way to reinforce those healthy eating habits. Children need to know not just that we should eat healthy foods, but why we should eat them. They also need to know what actually makes food healthy in the first place.
Many children today are only exposed to food at the grocery store or at restaurants. This means they are completely unfamiliar with where food comes from and how it’s made. Learning about how our food is made and where it comes from is a huge part of understanding what healthy food is and why it’s good for our bodies.
If you don’t know much about this topic yourself, you can still talk about it together. When your children see you learning about healthy food with them, they are going to be even more interested and excited about it.
Tips for learning/teaching about healthy foods:
Visit a local farm.
Watch a documentary about food production.
Practice reading nutrition labels at the grocery store.
Play a game of finding which food groups are represented at each meal.
3. Have a family sport.
Having a family sport is a great family activity to teach about exercise and fitness. It’s a chance to bond with your children while helping them learn the value of keeping your body fit and healthy. Whether you play the sport as a family, or simply watch the sport together, you will help instill these values to your kids.
When we watch or participate in sports with our children, we get a great opportunity to share all of the things we love about it with them. For example, my family does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a family. Through this, we get to share with our children values such as fitness, community, good sportsmanship, respect, perseverance, and more.
Because Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a sport we all do together, we are able to talk about it together. We practice it at home as well as attend events together. These are times my family cherish and that I hope my kids will remember in the future.
Tips for having a family sport:
Practice a sport together.
Watch a sport everyone enjoys on TV.
Attend a live sporting event.
4. Read together.
Reading together with your family is a great way to help instill the habit of loving to read. When our children learn to read and read well, it is so beneficial to every aspect of their academic life. When they become adults, reading has been shown to reduce stress levels, alleviate anxiety, increase life expectancy, and improve overall health and happiness.
You can read more about the health benefits of reading at mission.org.
With all those great benefits, helping our children to learn how to enjoy reading is definitely worth the time and effort. It is not as important what specifically we read to our children, but more the attitude and environment we create around reading. If we show them the value and enjoyment that can be found in it, they will carry that with them into adulthood.
Tips for reading as a family:
Read to your kids before bed.
Let them read aloud to you.
Listen to audiobooks together.
Make family trips to the library.
5. Cooking together.
Cooking together is another great family activity that builds those healthy habits. Children become a lot more comfortable and confident in the food they eat when they have a hand in making them. My daughters are always waaay more willing to try new foods when they helped cook them.
Cooking is also an important life skill for when they become adults. Especially if we want our children to be able to cook nutritious meals when they are out on their own. Cooking with your kids requires a little bit more patience, but the rewards are totally worth it.
For some great family recipe ideas follow me on Pinterest.
Tips for cooking as a family:
Be patient and expect a little extra mess.
Be very clear and explicit with your instructions.
Let your children help pick the recipes.
Start with recipes you know they will eat.
If you don’t know how to cook well yourself, learn together!
So those are 5 clever family activities that build healthy habits. By adding some of these activities into your family time, you get that quality time with your kids while also helping to teach habits that will benefit them as adults. That right there is a mom Win/Win!
If you have any ideas or suggestions that you have tried with your own family, comment below or email me at Candice@littlestepsbighappy.com.
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I’m a busy mom of 3 turned Health and Fitness Coach and Self Defense Instructor. I help inspire other moms to reach their health, fitness, and weight loss goals. You can usually find me chasing my kiddos around, training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or sneaking away to read romance novels. About Me