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How to Help Your Kids Get 2023 Off to a Healthy Start

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Many families become more sedentary in the winter when the weather is less conducive to outdoor activities. As a result, you and your children may feel a little sluggish when the time for New Year’s resolutions arrives. But the beginning of the new year is the perfect time for you to foster good habits in your young ones. This article will guide you toward helping your kids get off to a healthy start in 2023.

Start With Walking

It can be tempting to set big New Year’s resolutions, but sometimes the smallest goals are the most effective. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and lifelong habits aren’t usually built in a weekend. Instead of urging your children to become American Ninja Warriors in 2023, suggest something more attainable. Walking a certain distance every day is a great place to start. Use a kids smart watch to help with tracking daily steps.  

Walking more is such an easy goal that practically anyone can achieve it. But don’t let the simplicity of this activity fool you. Walking can have a huge impact on your kids’ physical and mental health. It can boost their immune function, balance their moods, lower their risk of heart disease, and more.

Make Bedtime a Priority

For most families, the holidays are a time to let loose on the rules a bit. Many parents allow their kids to stay up later making Santa’s cookies and lasting memories. There’s nothing wrong with giving your children a little more freedom when they have time off from school. But keep in mind that adequate sleep is important for any child’s physical and emotional development.

To help your kids get the healthiest start in 2023, make bedtime a priority once the holiday festivities are over. Youngsters generally require more sleep than adults each night. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend nine to 12 hours of nightly sleep for kids ages 6-12. Teenagers should get between eight and 10 hours of sleep at night. Scheduling bedtime at the same hour each night can help you ensure your children get adequate shut-eye.

Get Outside More

It’s ridiculously easy for children to spend an inordinate amount of time indoors. Most kids have several indoor entertainment options vying for their attention, such as movies, games, and social media. Encourage more playtime outdoors to help your children remain physically active. Spending time outdoors is also a great way to increase sunlight exposure, which is essential for vitamin D production.

Establish a weekly park day or play an impromptu game of tag with your kids outdoors. Each day, aim to get your children outside for at least 15 minutes. If they don’t want to play, that’s OK. Give them outdoor chores to complete instead. By raking leaves, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, or picking weeds, they can log some outdoor time while lightening the family workload.  

Create Healthy Eating Goals

As a parent, you might think getting your kids to eat healthier foods is an impossible task. While it’s harder to get children to choose healthy selections over salty chips and processed snack packs, it can be done! More importantly, it’s worth it for your youngsters’ health. Creating healthy eating habits doesn’t mean you have to limit your kids to carrot sticks and tofu all day. It just means you should work as a team to make and consume more nutrient-dense foods and fewer sugary treats.

One way to help your children understand the importance of a healthy diet is to compare food to fuel. Just as cars need a certain fuel type to function optimally, our bodies need certain food types to function optimally. You can help your kids develop an appreciation for healthy foods by allowing them to discover their own food preferences. Make a variety of healthy meals and ask your children which ones they like most. Include their selections in your weekly meal rotations so they can look forward to eating their favorite healthy meals.

Limit Screen Time

Many parents appreciate the way technology can keep kids entertained while they do other things. But it’s best to avoid using screen time as a babysitter. Too much screen time has been linked to a variety of health and developmental problems. Examples include obesity, behavioral issues, irregular sleep patterns, and impaired academic performance. Protect your children by limiting screen time.

Government and children’s health authorities have varying recommendations for setting screen time limits. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages families to develop a family media plan that’s customized to their unique needs. This plan should be developed and followed by the entire family. When children see their parents also limiting their screen time, it becomes easier for them to do the same.

Encourage Physical Activity

Physical activity for children often looks different than physical activity for adults. There’s no need to stick your kids on treadmills or make them finish an aerobic exercise program each day. For youngsters, physical activity can be as simple as roughhousing in the yard with the family dog or climbing trees.

For 2023, make a family goal to be more physically active. Encourage your children to engage in healthy play every day. If your kids want to get involved with local sports, give them the opportunity to do so. Any opportunity for increased movement is beneficial for your kids’ health.

Helping your children become the healthiest versions of themselves in 2023 doesn’t have to be a drag. Following the tips above can help you make healthy lifestyle habits fun, gratifying, and even exciting. For the best results, set and follow New Year’s health resolutions as a family. Encourage and support one another through the challenging and rewarding process of developing healthier habits.