Healthy habits in the family (III): free time well used
In the third article of our series “Healthy Family Habits” we take a special look at the use of free time, family leisure and rest. This is the third key area for developing solid routines that contribute to the emotional, mental and physical well-being of our families.
Sport and physical exercise as a healthy family habit
Daily sport is an essential healthy habit, as it helps to maintain weight and muscle tone, reduces the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases caused by being overweight and also cheers up the spirit.
Depending on age, experts recommend a minimum amount of time per day for physical activity:
- Before the age of 6, spontaneous activity is usually enough, although of course they should be taken out of the buggy and allowed to play outdoors.
- From the age of 6 years onwards, it is advisable to have a daily routine of 60 minutes (including weekends) of moderate-intense activity.
- It is very important to avoid reducing this time during adolescence.
We would like to take this opportunity to encourage you, when choosing a sporting or extracurricular activity for your children, to listen to their preferences and tastes, as we are much more likely to succeed in our efforts to instil the habit of sport and physical activity in them if they enjoy it.
Exercise is much more enjoyable if it is done as a family.
Goal at home: make a fun family plan for the weekend that includes physical activity, cycling, walking, picnics, etc.
Leisure and free time: better with the family
Closely linked to the previous objective is this one: to promote healthier free and leisure time while trying to limit the time spent in front of screens (television, tablet, mobile phone, etc.).
Leisure is a pending subject in many homes; parents should stop and think about how we want our children to have fun, perhaps by encouraging reading time, arts and crafts, instilling a hobby, walks, outdoor exercise. By taking into account their preferences and personalities, we can easily find those activities that will help them to develop their own talents.
Aim at home: look for alternatives to a certain “screen time” for everyone at home, find a board game or rescue one that we had forgotten about. Every month you can find a variety of ideas for family plans and activities in our Family Resources section.
Sleep: the holy remedy
One of the most important habits for a healthy life is proper rest, taking into account of course the age of the children. Sleeping well has a direct and positive effect on school performance and prevents health problems.
Apart from sleeping for at least 8 hours, it is important to make sure that children do not go to bed with electronic devices and to avoid stimulating activities before going to bed that make it difficult for them to rest.
Goal at home: create relaxing bedtime routines and set a schedule.
Who said it was easy? Educating is an art and each of us has a blank canvas and a palette of paints in front of us to try to make our family a healthy home.
Remember the importance of setting an example and giving reasons to do good. Children learn by example, so as well as talking to them about the value of a balanced diet and healthy routines, it is imperative that they see it in our lives:
- Let them see you planning the menu and shopping, let them accompany you and help as much as they can.
- Start by drinking water and take the opportunity to offer it to your children.
- Cook with them and explain the value of each type of food.
- Play sports individually and as a family so that the last thing they hear is a complaint about exercising!
- Reduce your mobile phone time and play with them.
- Sleep in a screen-free area
Encourage outdoor activity and relationships with others.
For more information you can contact Almudena Saucedo, school nurse.
Continue reading the series on healthy habits in the family!