1. Exercise together
Parents shouldn’t sit on the sidelines. Instead, lead your family’s physical activities, especially when younger kids are involved. Try to make exercise a fun family event everyone will want to participate in, such as a backyard game of touch football, tag, or badminton.
2. Be patient
Most people have developed unhealthy habits over years or decades. Forming new ones takes time. Be patient and recognize it’s a lifelong process. And if you or your kids slip up, don’t feel bad — just get right back on track.
3. Make sure your child gets enough sleep
Children need about 10 hours of sleep per night. Very young children also benefit from naps during the day. Make bedtime special with a routine that includes bathing, teeth brushing, getting ready for bed, and reading a story in bed. Choose relaxing or happy stories… stay away from scary stories just before bed (these can cause nightmares)
4. Keep junk foods to a minimum
Birthday cake at a party is fine, but cake and ice cream every day is not. Empty calories in soft drinks and fatty foods promotes obesity, which causes all kinds of health problems.
5. Keep kids away from smokers
Second-hand smoke can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory problems.
6. Promote good personal habits
Make sure children always wash hands after using the restroom, before eating, before helping with food, and after wiping their nose. Teach them how to blow their nose into a tissue. Teach them to cough into the crook of their elbow instead of out into the open air. These measures may do more to protect those around them than protect themselves…but maybe their good habits will spread to their peers.
7. Be a good role model
You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if kids see you trying to eat right and getting physically active, they’ll take notice of your efforts. You’ll send a message that good health is important to your family.
8. Teach Them to Hydrate
Our brains are 80 percent water, so hydration is extremely important, especially for growing little ones. A great way to teach your kids to stay hydrated is to have them look at their pee. Being hydrated means drinking enough so that your pee looks like water.
9. Keep things positive
Kid’s don’t like to hear what they can’t do, tell them what they can do instead. Keep it fun and positive. Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. Celebrate successes and help children and teens develop a good self-image.
10. Get the whole family moving
Plan times for everyone to get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together.
11. Be realistic
Setting realistic goals and limits are key to adopting any new behavior. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in your health over time, so start small and build up.
12. Make dinnertime a family time
When everyone sits down together to eat, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much. Get your kids involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus.
13. Open Your Windows
The air we breathe can have a profound effect on our mood and cognitive abilities, so it is important to keep it clean. Sometimes the air in our homes can be even more polluted than the air outside. Gigi Lee Chang, former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, recommends opening windows, using fans and vents, and having indoor plants in the home to help clean and circulate the air.
14. Limit Their Sugar Intake
Finally, if you want to prevent your kids from getting sick this winter, try to minimize the amount of sugar in their diet. According to Dr. Jay Gordon, sugar interferes with the body’s immune system by binding up the antibodies that the immune system needs to fight viruses.