When you have children, their health and happiness become your number one priority. But it’s not to say you should disregard your own, and actually, the best way to achieve a true sense of wellbeing is to get the entire family involved. Do things that will benefit you all as a unit, instead of just your children. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup- to be the best parent you can you need to make sure your own needs are met too. Here’s how you can go about it.
Make your home healthy
Home might seem like the safest place in the world, but plenty of dangers lurk. As well as the obvious such as knives, power tools, and hot drinks, your home environment can be unhealthy due to toxins in the air. These can come from places like woodburning stoves, cleaning chemicals and even from cooking. Use an air purifier to make your home safer for all the family, and regularly air it out by opening windows and doors.
Cook family meals
We all know that kids can be picky eaters, and all of us as parents have been guilty of giving in to what they want every now and again just to make life easier. It’s also tempting to feed children and adults separately, and your current dinner time routine might be cooking for your kids at 5 pm and then you and your partner at 7 pm. Streamline things, make it easier and cook for all of the family. Go through Pinterest and cookbooks and come up with healthy, tasty recipes that you’ll all enjoy. Eating together as a family has both health and wellbeing benefits when your children watch you enjoying healthy homecooked food, they will eventually mirror your attitude. Studies have even shown that dining together as a family on most days of the week can reduce the likelihood of teenage pregnancy, alcohol and drug misuse. Think is likely to be because families that eat together tend to be closer, and children are more likely to share their worries and frustrations with parents instead of simply giving in to peers. Make it a habit, meals don’t need to be gourmet standard. As long as they’re flavourful and balanced, you have peace of mind that your family is getting everything that they need.
Enjoy days out together
When you’re a busy parent, you don’t always have the luxury of being able to pop out to the gym a few times a week. While some gyms have a creche or daycare center, many don’t and so without access to childcare, it could simply be something you’re unable to do. But that doesn’t mean to say that you need to be inactive, the best way to do it is to get the whole family involved. Go on long hikes in the woods with your children and dog, you can find free worksheets online that you can print for things like nature trails. This allows kids to tick things off as they see them, and can make things more fun. You could go out on your bikes, for playtime at the park or get a bus to a new town or city and spend the day exploring. Walking is incredibly good exercise and is something you can do with little ones, whether you’re pushing them in the pram or they’re old enough to walk by themselves.
Find relaxing quiet activities
While diet and exercise are important for good health, it’s not the full story. To achieve a total state of wellbeing you need to look after your mind too, this article by Landmark states how important mental health is for achieving overall health. And a big part of keeping your mental health in check is knowing when to relax. It’s not always easy when you have kids running around, but as they’re able to understand more you can highlight the importance of quiet time and encourage this on a daily basis. Reading books together, coloring in or playing an educational game are all ideas. This can give you time to unwind and clear your head, catch up on your tv programs or just put your feet up and do nothing. So many people see this kind of activity as purely a luxury but it’s not the case. It’s absolutely crucial for our overall health and wellbeing. You can find craft kits and other activities for kids in hobby shops and online, look for things that aren’t too messy and are intuitive so they can get on with them on their own if needed while you relax.
Get into a good bedtime routine
As with relaxation, sleep is another critical element of overall wellbeing. Again, when you have children it’s something you frequently miss out on, so getting into a good routine where possible can be really helpful. Get your children used to having a bath, having a story read and then them going to sleep- they’ll know what to expect and can be less resistant. If you give in to them asking for more time every now and again they’ll always know to ask, so it’s best to be strict in this case. As your children get a little older and start sleeping through the night, use this an opportunity to sleep through the night yourself. It’s tempting to want to stay up to do chores or even just spend some time by yourself, but the sleep is almost always more valuable. Switch things up in your daily routine so that you’re organized and your jobs are done early on. So you’re not having to stay up and sort out school uniforms or make packed lunches late at night when you should be sleeping.
Don’t feel guilty for having time off
All parents need and deserve time off every now and again. So if you have family who wants to babysit, take them up on their offer! Use this as a chance to spend quality time with your partner, enjoy a peaceful day and have an early night where you can sleep as long as you want.