Back to school season is on its way in, and that can bring plenty of changes in routine. While heading back into the classroom can certainly be hectic and stressful — especially if you have multiple kids — it’s more important than ever to keep your health and your family’s health at the top of the priority list. While you may consider physical health first and foremost, it’s important to keep mental and emotional health in mind, too, as they’re all pieces to the puzzle. If you’re looking for a few ways to keep your family healthy this year, here are a few to keep in mind.
1. Reduce Stress
Yes — the issue of stress is at the top of the list, as it should be. Both for parents running around managing their own schedules as well as their children’s’ and for the kids who are under so much pressure to succeed, your home should be a place of safety and relaxation, Even though you can’t control what happens at school, you can make sure that your kids come home to a loving, peaceful environment where they don’t need to stress about things. Remember, health is more important than anything — including academics.
2. Set a Bedtime — For Everyone
Sure, your kids might have a rough bedtime when they should tuck in for the night. However, you might not hold to it as strictly as you’d like. Additionally, you as the parent probably don’t have a bedtime of your own. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important ways to stay healthy, especially because kids and teens need around ten hours of sleep per night depending upon the age range. Adults also need to make sure they’re getting enough sleep each night, and setting a bedtime is one of the easiest ways to ensure that.
3. Eat Well-Rounded Meals
Nights can be tough when everyone still feels a little on the go, but it’s still important to eat healthy, well-rounded meals whenever possible. Make sure there are always fruits and vegetables in the house, try whole grains, reduce your meat consumption and even try out new foods like miso and kaiso, which are superfoods. When you go a little out of your comfort zone, you can find so much health and nourishment all around.
4. Set Screen Time Limits
Even though rest is important and everything is okay in moderation, screen time can often have a negative effect on kids and parents alike. While doing homework on a laptop or watching a movie as a family certainly have their place, setting screen time limits for your kids on school nights — and even weekends — can be the best way to go. Many kids and teens spend up to nine hours each day on their screens, which can damage the eyes themselves as well as emotional and mental health over time.
5. Pack Lunches Instead of Buying
For kids, school lunches may be nutritionally sufficient, and for parents, that might not even be the case when it comes to eating out at work or grabbing a quick bite on your lunch hour. Either way, packing lunches ahead of time instead of waiting until the morning or buying them can not only save your family money, but it usually means eating more nutritious, balanced meals with fresher ingredients. Give it a try — especially if you meal prep, which can make things a little easier.
6. Schedule Outdoor Time
School, work and extracurricular activities can take a toll on your free time as a family. This means you may not have as much time to enjoy the outdoors or have time for leisurely movement. However, those details are extremely important to leading a healthy life, especially for growing kids. Try to schedule at least a little bit of outdoor time every week, or even every day depending upon what your family prefers and the weather patterns in your area. You may find that it can bring a brand new life into your family’s health, both mentally and physically.
7. Keep Up to Date On Medical Care
It can sometimes be extremely difficult to keep track of everything on the schedule, especially during the initial back-to-school shuffle. However, keeping up to date on medical care and doctor’s appointments is the key part of caring for your family‘s health. Whether you need an exam, your kids need their immunizations or you all have a dentist visit coming up, don’t wait. Those are important things.
Keeping Your Family Healthy All Year Long
No matter what your family situation is like, everybody is unique and has their own needs. The ways that you keep your family healthy might be different from others, but it’s all about balancing the mind and body to care for yourself and your loved ones however you can.