Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Like most parents, you want to do everything possible to keep your family healthy physically and mentally. The fact is, it can be difficult trying to do everything. You often feel pushed and pulled at the same time. So what can you do? You can take a few minutes to stop and listen to your inner voice that keeps nudging you to make some needed changes.
One of the first things you want to do is reduce stress where possible. This means allowing enough time to get things done, be it getting dressed in the morning or sitting down and eating breakfast. A rushed morning starts the day negatively.
Know that change does not happen over night and it cannot happen without getting the whole family involved. That means getting your children, as well as your husband involved. Don't call a meeting, instead start with light chat at the dinner table. Of course if you do not eat together, that may be one of the needed changes.
2. Eating together can bring a family closer. A leisurely family meal makes for a healthier family, physically and emotionally. Remember those old television comedy shows where the family ate at a certain time. No matter what game the children were playing outside, the knew when to head home for dinner each day.
While times have changed and a family may not have such a rigid family dinner schedule. One thing has not changed, the need for family unity. One way to help ensure that is eat together at least one time each day. We are all so consumed with television, the Internet or outside activities that family is often placed second or third on our long list of "to-do's" and commitments. If a nightly home-cooked is out of the question or not a workable plan, you can make your local fast food chain your family friend. When you buy that bucket of chicken, stop by the supermarket and buy green salad fixings and some fruit. Even better let the kids make meal time fun by allowing them to plan a meal. They could help you prepare it as well. Pizza for may not be an ideal dinner, but pizza with a bowl of hearty vegetable soup and a cold salad makes a meal. Buy only low fat dressing. If necessary, pour the dressing in a covered jar or bowl. Why create "Eeek it's low-fat!" label angst?
Do you take time to have fun with your family? Being a good parent is more than doing the right thing. It is also about being able to have a good laugh with them.
3. Having fun with your family. Communication, communication, communication is the key. This means having fun together and individually. Do you know how to have a good time with your family? There is a commercial where we see an adult doing adult things. A child comes in to talk and ask questions, at first the child is ignored because the adult is busy doing his busy things. A second passes and something clicks in the mind of the adult, the child is invited to help, things are explained. This commercial touches me because all it takes is positive word from the adult to change the child's hurt demeanor and sad downcast face to a wide smile. Take time to have fun, it may the thing that your child will remember when talking to his children.
4. Don't be a couch potato--get some exercise with your children. If you are of a certain age, you may remember it was a given that you would play outside after school. You could not wait to change from your school clothes to your play clothes and hang out with your friends, running, playing. Now, it is up to you to teach your children how much fun they can have without computers or television. Don't be a do as I say parent, you send the kids outside, then you settle back to watch favorite your game show. Take some time to toss a ball with your children or take a nature walk with them. There is no nature where you live? Sure there is, itís all around you, there are stones, leaves, wild flowers, weeds.
5. Have a no television day. This may be hard for your kids and even harder for mom and dad. For some, limiting television may be one of the hardest things they will have to do when taking back control of their lives. Parents often make television a small child's baby sitter, one that does not need a snack and charges you nothing. I wonder if very young children would be just as happy listening to calming music and playing with a toy. Like anything else, watching television all day can become a habit, babies and young children have no idea what it is until they are shown.
6. Let your children have their own me time. Let your child make his own quiet time fun. Books, crafts, coloring books and crayons are great for quite moments. Depending on the child's age, chasing soap bubbles can be provide a simple joy. Did you know you can make bubbles with an empty thread spool? Just dip the spool in bubble solution and blow gently through the dry end of the spool. A quick flick of the wrist and the bubble flows and takes flight. If you do not have bubble solution, help the child make some with small pieces of soap that have been allowed to melt in a bit of warm water until it is thick and slick. It may take a few days before it is ready, but the anticipation is part of the fun, Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet?
7. Cut down on your unhealthy habits. Is there anything you are doing that could harm your children? Smoking heads the list, you have seen the alerts on television: second hand smoke is harmful to the health of those around you. It also sends a message, if mom or dad smokes it must be fine to do it. However, long before kids are old enough to smoke harm has been done. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to have respiratory infections, pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma. Read what the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency says about second hand smoke, at the end of this article.
8. Healthy habits start when kids are young. Keep regular medical checkups for her kids. Talk to your children about them, tell them why they are necessary. Your local library will have books about going to the doctor and what to expect when you get to her office. This a perfect opportunity to introduce children to the library and encourage reading.
9. Buckle up when you get in your car. Surely this is a habit that must be practiced by all family members. Young children should be placed in appropriate car safety seats. Older children should be sitting in appropriate booster seats. Mom and dad should buckle up as soon as they have the children secure.
10. Parents know when it is time to step back and cut some your children some slack. You have set the course, you have given them the tools they need to have a good and healthy life. Allow them to grow and spread their wings, but be there to guide them.
Health Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke