Exercise is always a common goal at the start of every new year, and helping children build a habit of it is key, especially if they desire to be athletes. Encourage kids to be active as much as possible (the Mayo Clinic recommends at least three times per week). That can mean limiting TV or video-game time, and creating regular family outings such as hikes or frisbee sessions. Install a basketball hoop or even a pull-up bar, or schedule weekend runs or trips to the pool. No matter which sport your children might play, cross-training and exercise in general can naturally turn into a life-long habit they’ll want to keep.
Watch Screen Time
Getting enough sleep is likely something you’ve already been working on—for both yourself and your children, and an important step is limiting screen time. Too many minutes in front of a computer or TV can disrupt snooze time (not to mention that exercise routine you’ve been trying to create). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than an hour each day for young kids, and monitoring closely from there. You’ll also want to make sure screens are off at least an hour before bedtime.
Take a Breather
Countless studies have shown the benefits of meditation: increased focus, stress and anxiety relief, and even lowered blood pressure. And you can reap results with as little as five minutes of focused breathing each day. (An easy method to try: Inhale and exhale for four counts each, and focus on the physical sensation of the breath.)
Research on meditation as a complimentary health practice has recently shown a regular practice can benefit kids, too. Many schools now offer mindfulness programs, yet whether yours does or doesn’t, it still might be nice to practice with your children for five minutes in the morning. (You can do it before that wholesome breakfast!) Or even better, try simply walking outside. A 15-minute, mindful stroll has been shown to boost happiness. Now that’s a habit you’ll want to keep.
Lara Rosenbaum is an award-winning journalist and wellness expert whose work has appeared in Women’s Health, Shape, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, Men’s Journal, Prevention, Yoga Journal and other publications. Lara is also a former elite athlete, having traveled the world as a member of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.