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Parents of newborns are often up to their eyeballs with the responsibilities and chores that come along with a baby. Midnight feedings, diaper changes, and fussy sleepers can leave mom and dad feeling like they have no time to themselves anymore, and social media supermoms can make any parent’s frustration even worse.
If you and your partner are feeling like you have no time to yourself, let alone to get in a good sweat at the gym when you have a baby to watch, here are a few healthy habits that your whole family can adopt together. Whether your children are in diapers or are fully grown, these tips can help everyone in your family improve their health!
Bedtimes for everyone
Bedtimes are important for children so that they are well-rested and their sleep schedules are regulated. But did you know that consistent bedtimes for children are also linked with mood stabilization, the ability to better focus, and improved emotional wellbeing? NPR has even reported that inconsistent sleep schedules for children affect them the same way jet lag affects travelers. Parents can reap the same benefits from sleep, too. A steady sleep schedule helps to improve adults’ focus at their jobs and boost moods almost as much as the endorphin release from exercise.
Eat one meal a day together
Family meal time has been proven to increase children’s consumption of vegetables, teach kids portion control, and lower calorie and sodium intake for parents and kids alike. Families who eat together also improve their children’s social skills and foster better relationships between parents and kids. If you are parents to a newborn, this habit can be formed from an early age and will teach your children healthy eating habits when they are the most likely to incorporate them into lifelong tendencies.
Exercise is important for people of all ages, as it improves muscle growth and development, regulates metabolisms and encourages other healthy habits such as eating healthy and sleeping regularly. While not every family is full of adventurers or competitive people, events such as fun runs can get parents and kids moving together. Fun runs are stroller friendly and get parents and kids up and moving together. Many also have kid-friendly themes like color runs, where runners are dusted with brightly colored chalk to give them a tie-dye effect by the time they cross the finish line. If running is not for you or your kids, hikes and walks through your neighborhood have the same physical benefits as running, with the added bonus of sightseeing for the whole family and the chance to explore a new area.
Make playtime a family affair
Kids love to play because it is fun, but parents should also love when their kids play because it improves children’s self-confidence , betters their social skills among peers, and can be an additional source of exercise for kids. Take your kids to the playground, walking there if you can, to give them a safe environment to play with other children their own age and to give you the additional cardio exercise of the walk. While you are at the playground, you will also have the chance to meet other parents with children around the same age as yours.
Don’t eat on the couch
We all know that eating while watching something stimulating tricks our minds into ignoring our bodies’ hunger cues (and cues that we’re full), which is why the gallon-sized buckets of movie theater popcorn seem to never last the full length of a film. But did you also know that this same effect happens whenever we eat and are not fully present for our meals? If you snack on the go, eat on the couch or even look at your phone during a meal, your mine will ignore your body’s cues telling you that you are full and you will end up eating more. Because of this, your family should instill a “no food outside the kitchen” rule, which will deter bad habits such as eating in bed or on the couch, as well as eliminating crumbs from many other rooms in your house. If your family frequently eats meals and snacks outside of the kitchen, a way to combat this is to look for a large table with comfortable seating that your whole family will want to gather around.