Keeping your children and your whole family healthy most often falls to you. Of course, we have the best of intentions as parents, but time gets tight and actions slip. Don’t let it happen. Always cover the basics. Your child’s developing body and mind depend on the accumulation of your family’s actions, and your child’s future depends on healthy habits you set in motion.
The basics of helping your family stay healthy are so simple that every one of us can start today. Cover these then you are ready to move on to the details.
The basic rules couldn’t be simpler. As Michael Pollan put it in his Eater’s Manifesto, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Food is fuel, but it is also important to culture and community. Respect the importance of eating well as the core of a healthy living.
Do more than just exercise. Choose the active options. Chase the kids, run the dogs, and take the stairs. It doesn’t take a lot of time or a lot of activity to keep yourself and your family in decent shape, but it makes all of the difference in your long-term ability to move well.
Getting the right amount of sleep is as important to your health as eating well and staying active. Not enough sleep and your body won’t function as well. Your immune system, your weight, your blood pressure, and your basic ability to think straight depend on getting enough sleep. Too much sleep can lead to back pain, diabetes, heart disease, and depression. To make it more difficult, not everyone needs the same amount of sleep. Finding your way down that sweet center is yours to figure out.
Limit Toxic Exposure
Toxic exposures to avoid include those in your house, like lead and pesticides, as well as those larger environmental exposures due to air quality and water quality. Give your child’s developing brain and body the best possible chance.
In part, having fun is a way of managing the inevitable stress you face, but it’s so much more than that. By taking the time and creating the space to have fun together as a family, you strengthen those ties that hold you all together. That creates your larger safety net. Don’t let it slip. Schedule time together and try a variety of activities.