The New Year is upon us, which means a perfect time to wipe the slate clean and start a new, positive year for you and your kids. Everyone sets resolutions for the New Year in hopes of self-improvement and better health -even the kids- so here are some potential New Year’s resolutions for the whole family.
1 – Participate in physical activities an hour a day, at least three days a week
With growing technology right at our fingertips, more kids are spending time glued to their computers, TVs, and phones than playing outside, riding their bikes, and causing a manageable ruckus. One in three kids in the United States suffers from obesity or being overweight. While there are various contributing factors, sedentary lifestyle is a big one.
While PE games at school certainly help, kids need to stay active outside of school, too. Regular physical activity keeps kids healthy and perpetuates proper bone and muscle development, and just an hour a few days a week is all it takes. As a parent, you can do your part to keep your kids active without them even knowing it. Go out for frequent walks, hikes, and bike rides. Shoot some hoops in the driveway or throw around the old pigskin. Above all, do something that you know your kids will enjoy. Don’t force them to join a sports team or take up a martial art if they are vehemently against it.
2 – Eat at least two servings of fruits and vegetables a day
Fruits and veggies have all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients kids need to grow up strong and healthy. Unfortunately, getting kids to eat their greens is a Herculean task at best. Generally, kids should have one fruit or veggie per meal, but two good servings can still pack quite the punch. To be fair, your kids will probably end up consuming more than two servings of fruits and veggies anyway.
Keep plenty of fresh fruit and sliced veggies handy to replace chips, cookies, and other snacks. Although fruit juice seems like an easy option, the process of juicing often takes out important nutrients—like fiber—and fills kids up too quickly.
3 – Limit soda to special occasions
Soda has become one of the biggest banes to modern humanity, for adults and children alike. While soda is certainly packed with sugar and sodium, it’s not so much the drink itself as it is the sheer amount that we drink, so much so that the United States is actually an outlier in international soda-drinking trends.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a soda every now and then, but pop shouldn’t comprise the majority of your child’s fluid intake. Water is the way to go.
4 – Stop negative self-talk
We’re all allowed our moments of self-deprecation, but it shouldn’t become a habit or something that your kids believe in. When kids constantly say, “I’m dumb,” or, “I can’t do this,” they start believing their own words, which can completely undercut their self-esteem and confidence. Maintain a positive attitude with your kids, and give feedback that is accurate but constructive.
On a related note, always be aware of the little ears that absorb and often internalize the things we say around them, even if we don’t mean for that to happen. If you criticize yourself because your jeans aren’t fitting quite like they used to, or you indulged too much at dinner, or any other self-criticism, your kids will follow suit and think it’s right to constantly pick themselves apart.
Given the choices, kids tend to make the right decisions. Do your part to nudge them in the right direction and they’re sure to have a lovely, fun New Year.