2021 is here!
Finally. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling hopeful. No matter where you are at, remember this. You got through it. 2020 was hard, but you got through it. When times are rough remind yourself that you can do hard things. Because you just did.
Maybe it was how you juggled a full time job working from home while your trying to also watch your children. Perhaps it was how you managed to get food on the table with a limited budget. Maybe it was how you tried to fill in the social gap for your kids when they couldn’t see their friends. When it comes to the health and wellness of our kids, there are times the challenges we face seem insurmountable. But remember, you can do hard things.
Your family’s habits may have changed drastically in 2020. Gone were the days of kids getting their exercise at recess or in after school sports.
And those few minutes you might have had to yourself when the kids were in school? Gone too.
Perhaps your kids’ snacking habits changed. And maybe yours did too.
Or cooking kinda went out the window.
And let’s not even talk about screen time limits. (When you’re stuck at home for months, honestly, what’s that?)
But 2021 is an opportunity.
An opportunity to make a choice. A choice to either continue on the path you were on or to course correct.
You might be thinking, “Yes! I’m ready for a change!” But what about the rest of your family? What if they’re not? As a parent you probably know that the more we push, the more they resist. How do you overcome this?
My strategy is make small changes and make it fun.
Ok. So here’s an example. Let’s say you want to add more plants into your family’s diet.
What I would suggest you NOT say is, “Family, we are going to make a huge change in our house, dump out everything in the pantry and eat all kinds of new food.”
Because what your family will hear is, “Family, we are never going to eat any of our favorite things ever again and it’s gonna be some weird green stuff everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner
And you’re gonna get a big NO.
So, let’s reframe. Start with your why. Why do you want to make a change in the first place? Is it because you want your kids to be healthy? Do you feel a certain emotion about their current eating patterns? Or maybe you want to start making some changes for your own health? But remember these reasons are your reasons and not what will drive your kids.
You also have to think about their why.
Perhaps your child is an athlete and would be driven by knowing that eating more plants will give them more endurance or improve their athletic performance?
Or maybe your child loves animals or cares about saving the environment. Eating more plants is better for planetary health.
If you have a young child, their why is simply to play and have fun.
Now try this. “Let’s play a game and see how many colors of the rainbow we can eat in one meal! Who wants to help me?”
THE FAMILY WELLNESS TOOLKIT
Let me help you get your family to a place where your kids will have fun with adopting healthful lifestyle habits and you can begin your path together as a family towards wellness.
I created the Family Wellness Toolkit eBook to make it easier for you to make a lifestyle change for your family. You can download it HERE. If you want to know more about what is in it first, read on.
The Family Wellness Toolkit was designed to highlight 5 areas of lifestyle which I also focus on in Wellness Pediatrician:
- Eat a whole food plant predominant diet
- Move regularly
- Sleep adequately
- Relax and manage stress
- Connect with others
I love getting kids started with adding plants to their diet by teaching them all about eating all the colors of the rainbow. I have a whole post called “Eat the Rainbow” where I show you how I teach this to my patients and how to play the Eat the Rainbow game. Read more HERE.
The rainbow smoothie recipe is a master recipe that you can adapt to whatever fruits and veggies you have at home. Kids love that they can win the Eat the Rainbow game with JUST ONE SMOOTHIE!
Bonus points: Get them to help make it. They will be more likely to taste it if they had a role in picking out ingredients and putting it together.
This section of the Family Wellness Toolkit teaches kids 6 and older how much exercise they should aim for each day and ideas for the different types of exercise that will meet these goals.
The goal is 60 minutes everyday of moderate exercise.
3 days a week they should include:
- Vigorous activity
- Muscle strengthening exercise
- Bone strengthening exercise
For younger kids, please take a look at the post called “Physical Activity for Babies and Toddlers” HERE.
The Family Wellness Toolkit also has a summary of recommendations for good sleep hygiene such as turning off their screen 60-90 minutes before bed, exercising in the daytime, and avoiding salty foods before bed. Sometimes it helps to have someone other than you telling your kids to turn off their screen before bed. Right?
I’ve written in more detail about “How Many Hours of Sleep Do Kids Need by Age” HERE.
This page of the Family Wellness Toolkit teaches kids about how to do a breathing technique called 5 Finger Breathing. Learning how to breathe and to be mindful helps kids to learn self regulation. I love this particular technique because it is very visual and I have even been able to teach young kids how to do this one.
For a few other techniques, check out the post “3 Breathing Exercises for Toddlers, Kids and Teens” HERE.
Finding meaningful connection with our children is key to helping them to thrive. Having some electronic free time as a family is a great way to start. This 30 day Family Wellness Challenge makes it fun.
MAKE A CHANGE
So what do you think? Are you ready?
If you are ready to make a change to take the path to wellness and to course correct for 2021, HERE is the link for the Family Wellness Toolkit.
Game on. You’ve got this.