Health & Wellness at Home: 7 Activities to Help Children Develop Healthy Habits

You’re trying to get your child to eat peas…but after one bite, the plate gets pushed away. You’d love it if everyone could be home every night for dinner…but schedules rarely seem to work out. And at the end of a long day, you know exercise is important…but all your family wants to do is snuggle up on the sofa and relax. We’ve all been there. But even with busy lives, it’s still possible to work health and wellness into each day. Here’s how:

7 Healthy Activities for Families

  1. Grow your own food. Wishing you could get your children excited about eating veggies? Growing your own can help, even if you don’t have a garden. Pick seeds or seedlings out with your child and work together to plant them – be it in a raised bed, your garden, or even a community lot. While you’re waiting for harvest, boost anticipation by watering the plants each day and observing any changes. You can even chart predictions on when your child thinks they’ll sprout out of the ground or start producing. Don’t have a green thumb? Not to worry — lettuce, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes can all be relatively easy to grow. Starting with herbs on the windowsill can be a great gateway to vegetables too.
  2. Cook together. Preparing meals with your child can help introduce healthy cooking and eating habits, and it’ll also give you the chance to turn a daily task into a great bonding experience. If you have a bigger family and you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, divide and conquer. Cook dinner with one of your children one night, have your partner and your other child cook the next night, and then alternate so everyone has a turn together.
  3. Sit around the table. When you’re hustling to get out the door each morning, or you’re swamped with various after school activities and work responsibilities in the evenings, it can be hard to pull the whole family together for meals. But try to eat at least once a day together — it doesn’t matter which meal — and sit together. This together-time encourages quality conversation and a time to connect with one another.
  4. Boost nutrition. This can actually be fun… and there are many different ways to do it! Try letting each family member choose one or two meals per week — but set guidelines that include a protein, a healthy vegetable, and a healthy starch. Go grocery shopping together and encourage your child to help you pick out fruits and vegetables. You can also be adventurous together by making subtle changes to your usual purchases, such as swapping rice for quinoa and using cauliflower to make pizza crust.
  5. Get outside. Whether you walk, bike, scooter, or play outside, enjoying the outdoors together can help everyone get some much-needed exercise. Instead of turning on Saturday morning cartoons, go for a walk around the neighborhood. Plan a weekend bike ride or visit your local park and playground. Or, instead of heading to the movie theatre, why not opt for a tennis rally or a basketball game.
  6. Make time for family connections. Set aside time each week to come together as a family. This can be as simple as a meal — think taco Tuesdays or pizza Fridays — and an after-dinner walk. Or, you can make it more involved, like family game night. Whatever you decide to do, make sure the activity gives everyone plenty of time for conversation and connections.
  7. Encourage and celebrate. Wellness means feeling good about yourselves, too. Is your child worried about a spelling test? Is your partner working towards a tight deadline? Create a healthy family culture of encouragement and celebrate everyone’s success.

Even in the midst of hectic days and busy nights, you can focus on nutrition, exercise, and family time with these seven ideas. And not only will they help your family stay healthy and active, they’ll also boost happiness and appreciation for one another