Ahhh, mom life. It’s one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet. It’s filled with joy, laughter, and excitement with every new accomplishment or milestone your child reaches. But, if you are a busy mom, you also understand how challenging it can be. Especially when it comes to keeping your little ones healthy. With so much information out there on parenting advice, do this, don’t do that, it can become quite overwhelming. Unfortunately, there’s no manual for this, but here are five essential tips that will help you navigate everyday challenges while keeping your family’s health a top priority.
Start Healthy Habits
It is so important to start incorporating healthy habits at a young age. Even if it’s small, simple changes, these habits will stick and make a big difference as your child grows. As you know, children are sponges! They soak up anything and everything, so by seeing you eating fruits and veggies, taking your vitamins, being active, and making healthy choices will have a lasting impression on them. This doesn’t mean to forbid junk food completely. Keeping a balance is good because when you take something completely away from them, they may develop more cravings for that item in the future, leading to poor eating habits. Instead, try offering some fruits and vegetables at every meal. Make snacks fun and healthy and get them involved.
We’ve all been there before. Before you know it, it’s five o’clock, and you have no idea what you are making for dinner. So what’s the simple solution? Often, it’s eating out. This can be avoided by planning ahead. Sit down and create a game plan for what meals you can make throughout the week. This way, you can have your grocery list ready and may even be able to pre-cook a few meals and stash them in the fridge or freezer in advance. Everyone loves a home-cooked meal. In addition to saving money and getting the family involved in the kitchen, cooking at home is actually associated with healthier diets and eating habits. So make it fun! Get the family involved in the meal planning and prep to ensure lots of fun, healthy memories, and good habits.
We live in such a digital world where it’s easy for kids to get sucked into a video game, youtube, or Netflix. Before all of this technology, kids played outside, rode bikes, and used their imagination. There are so many benefits to physical activity, especially at a young age. Exercise is a fundamental part of a child’s growth and development. Studies show that children who regularly engage in physical activity have better cognitive performance, and it helps reduce stress and anxiety. As the weather starts to warm up, take advantage and get active outside! Even if the weather is not ideal, there are still plenty of creative ways to incorporate physical activity indoors.
Ways to get active with your children
Try out some of these activities to help keep your child active!
• Go for nature walks
• Play games like relay races, jumping rope, or hopscotch
• Get them involved in community activities or sports
• Go for a bike ride
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. This one is vital. On average, kids between the ages of 5 and 12 get around 9.5 hours of sleep. However, research suggests kids at this age actually need 9 to 11 hours of sleep. Studies also show a link between sleep deprivation and mood swings, cognitive function, poor eating habits, and obesity. Sleep is imperative to keep your child’s immune system strong and healthy. Create a consistent sleep schedule with your children where they are getting the right amount of sleep, and be sure to set a good example for them with your own sleeping habits. Sleep isn’t just important for kids but busy moms too. Let them know how important sleep is for them to grow strong. Make sure to turn off any screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime.
Reduce Screen Time
As it was mentioned earlier, screentime is a common go-to for kids. But is it helping or hurting your child’s development? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP), it is recommended to avoid screens for children younger than 19 to 24 months. For older children ages 2 to 4, the AAP recommends limiting screen time to one hour a day. If you do let your child have screen time try allowing them to watch something educational. When your child is throwing a meltdown at the grocery store, it’s easy to throw a screen in front of them to distract, which is understandable. However, you can also try to keep little books or a favorite toy on hand for these types of situations. More go tos instead of screen time could be a family game night, drawing or coloring activities, or even puzzles to keep their brains active.
Being a mom is challenging work. You will do anything and everything for your child. But remember, you are only human, and it’s okay to cut yourself some slack. Nobody is perfect, so really doing the best you can is all you can do. Keep these tips in mind when you do feel overwhelmed with the current state of the world. Showing your children healthy habits and ways to stay active will carry through their whole lives. The number one thing you can control is showing them, LOVE.