I’ve never been one for New Year resolutions, but I do see value in having healthy habits whether they begin on the 1st of January or not. On the other hand, it’s also good to balance the expectations we set for ourselves with grace. As our world is constantly bombarding us with the notion that we need to be perfect, it’s vital to our emotional and mental well-being we understand healthy habits are not healthy when expected to be followed through with perfection.

Healthy habits for families
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Be the example of healthy

As we navigate this healthy balance for ourselves, it’s important we acknowledge that our children watch us with open eyes. For those of you who have daughters, you will set the stage for your girls and how they view themselves. Are you modeling an unhealthy diet or fitness culture that will someday be passed onto your girls that could cause them to have body issues or not accept and love themselves the way they were created? Or are you modeling that when you fail, you give up, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to grow?

It’s tricky as parents to know this balance for ourselves, let alone model it for our kids. I’ll be the first to say I have struggled to be a good example in having healthy habits. I tend to either give up or expect perfection from myself. I am an all in overachiever that can oftentimes lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. My stress sometimes translates into being short with my kids or not paying as much attention to them as I should. I’ve often wondered what kind of message I am sending them in regards to how to handle stress. It’s with that I am continually checking my actions as a parent to make sure I am being a good example to my children in all areas of life.

I often fail at this. In fact, I daily fail at this. But when I balance healthy habits I have set for myself with grace to not be perfect, amazing things can happen.

I am a better wife, mom, friend, and worker. For me, my healthy habits sometimes look like this.

Our Family’s Healthy Habits to Nurture a Healthy Home

mother and son
  • I only look at my phone when I’m on the clock – I work on my computer at the local gym, while my son is being watched in childcare, and my other son is at school. This and when my toddler is taking a nap are the only times I allow myself to look at my phone unless responding to a text or phone call. I sometimes fail at this, but it’s a healthy habit that makes sure my child’s emotional needs are put before my career.
  • I set aside a certain amount of time daily to give my two boys undivided attention. For my toddler, our special time together is in the morning while my husband is taking my other son to school. For my older son, it’s when the toddler goes to bed at night.

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  • I make sure I’m doing something for my own personal growth and physical fitness. If I am not taking care of myself, I cannot be who I need to be to nurture a healthy home environment. For me, working out has always been something that feeds my mental health. I also love to just sit and watch a show at the end of the day when my kids are in bed. Getting in the word and reading helpful books are also a must for me. A healthy habit is to feed your mind with lovely things.
  • My husband and I go on frequent dates. When 2020 happened, this shifted a bit. But sometimes, a date for us is having my parents watch our kids, and snuggling up to watch a movie together.
  • Prayer. When we begin our days with prayer, we are showing our children that our trust is in God. Whatever happens in our life, God is our protector, provider, and showing a heart of gratitude for the things we have, allows our hearts to be directed towards contentment. As consumerism and greed infiltrate the minds of our children through television and the westernized thinking, it’s important to teach that things or money won’t make you happy, but rather, a heart of thankfulness. Prayer helps us do this. Studying God’s word helps us do this.

Book Ideas for a Healthy Habit Morning

mom reading to kids

Printable Kid’s Gratitude Journals – Print from home!

New Morning Mercies – Paul David Tripp

The Jesus Storybook Bible

We have enjoyed all of these sources in our family. I can’t tell you how incredible the change is when we start our days out with a grateful heart and set our minds on the things above.

But as I always mention, make sure your kids are on board with this. When you force faith down their throats, then the purpose of this is meaningless. In our family, we have never forced our children to pray OR make them believe what we do. We present them with what we believe and leave it up to them to make that choice for themselves.

This is SO important when it comes to nurturing a healthy spiritual life at home. When we force our faith on our children, they will most likely not see it as something good, but as something to avoid.

Related Post: The One Thing Every Strong Willed Child Needs

Ask your kids about what’s going on in their life

Another thing that should be avoided, is ONLY talking about spiritual things but neglecting to ask your kids about their feelings or what’s going on in their lives. So make your mornings also filled with interest and intentional listening to THEM. Not preaching at them.

Here is a post about 5 Emotionally Bonding Questions to Ask Your Kids Daily

family

Being in the world, but not of the world

Our culture is flawed. I think if 2020 showed me more of what I already knew, it was that this world is not our home. It’s not our source of joy, peace, or hope. As Christians, we are called to live our lives to glorify God. What does that mean? That means that in our daily lives, we accept His grace, acknowledge that we are already made perfect through His Son, and to love others with the love we already experience.

Our spiritual growth is nurtured when we give God time to work in our lives. And doing that means getting in the Word. It’s really that simple.

Our healthy habits are not ONLY about our physical and mental well-being but also about our spiritual. This is our hope. And the best way to teach this to your children is to model it, pray for them, and let God go the distance.

child doing chores

Healthy Habit Ideas for Your Kids

  • Encourage them to journal – Check out our printable Kid’s Journals!
  • Assign them daily chores and responsibilities – Check out this magnetized chore chart!
  • Give them screen time limits – Check out BARK app – Parental control for kids that not only alerts you with a text when your child is seeing something they shouldn’t but sets time limits on their devices! Use code WORDBIRD at checkout to experience ONE MONTH FREE. Read my review of the app here.
  • Have them work out or do something active daily – Youtube has some great workout videos for kids that we use! You can also go on family bike rides, hikes, or whatever your seasonal weather allows. There is no bonding in our family like some time spent in nature.
  • Give them a daily checklist that encourages them to get outside, be creative, read, and do kind things for others. Here is something we offer to encourage this!

Screen Time Printable – encourages them to achieve certain tasks before they are allowed screen time. Mandalorian themed!

  • Encourage routine and a schedule – I don’t know about you, but when our family has some kind of loose schedule, we do better with follow through and having good days.
  • Eat one meal per day as a family – eating together is one of the most traditional and beneficial ways to bring families together. Check out this dinner table talk game, Our Moments, we play that encourages emotional closeness, and for your kids to open up more. It’s full of creative questions like, “If you were a superhero, who would you be?” or ones that are more personal, like, “Do you feel safe to tell me everything?” It’s truly become one of our favorite games as a family.
  • Encourage rest time — our kids often need alone/unwind time, just as much as we do! This is also teaching them to care for themselves and understand their boundaries.

But don’t forget the most important step when teaching healthy habits

As we discussed at the beginning of this article about encouraging a balance of habits and grace for ourselves, it’s important that when implementing healthy habits, your kids don’t misunderstand them as you expecting them to be perfect.

With everything, have grace for your kids as you walk alongside them in their journey to learning emotional and physical life skills. Be their safe space to go to with everything. If we expect perfection in ANY scenario, whether it be behavior, listening, or performance, they will do one of two things — become perfect little actors or eventually try to get as far away from you as possible.

Remember your kids are human.

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Encourage sibling peace in your home! Check out the free printable below!

Positive parenting tools for every parent 

Screen Time Protection and Teaching Moderation

I’ve recently partnered with Bark, a software to supervise, manage, and protect your child’s device use on the go. Use the code WORDBIRD at checkout to get an additional 1 month free trial after your first initial 7 day trial!

Screen Time Checklist Printable for Kids – FREE if you sign up for our weekly newsletter. Just fill out your info below. 

Book List for Kids and Parents

Check out my recommended books for parenting

Book list to teach kids about racial diversity. 

Journaling for Kids

When a child is old enough to start drawing, coloring, or writing, journaling is an incredible way to help your kids better express themselves in a free and comfortable way. Check out our Kid’s Printable Journals — created specifically to help children better express their feelings, encourage gratitude, and spark imagination. 

Chores for Kids

Magnetized Chalk Chart for Fridge

Implementing chores and structure in your child’s daily life is a VERY helpful tool to teach them follow through, discipline, and respect. We use this chore chart in our family to help our kids keep track of their own progress, and keep you from having to constantly remind them of their daily tasks. 

If you’re looking for something a bit more simple, this is also a good option. 

Chore Chart Printable – Get it NOW from the convenience of your own printer

If you’re looking for something you can print out immediately and start implementing chores in your home today, check out this CHORE CHART PRINTABLE. With a Mandalorian theme, it makes for a lighthearted and fun way to encourage kids to do their daily and weekly “missions.”

Emotional Connectivity with Your Kids

Connecting on a deeper level emotionally with a child is CRUCIAL, and sometimes more difficult. We play THIS GAME often in our family to create a safe space for our kids to feel free to share their questions and emotions, all without judgment. 

We even offer an “Exemption Time” for the duration of this game, where anything he tells us is off the table for consequences. 

Check out these other posts on emotional connectivity on the blog!

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Author

Hillary Gruener is a wife, mother, writer, and musician. If she's not at her desk writing content on family life, she's adventuring the world with her husband and two boys.

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