Parents are usually all about instilling healthy habits into their kids, but wait a minute! What about YOU, Mom and Dad? As you work to teach your kids good lifestyle habits, don’t neglect your own physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Perhaps you’ve never stopped to think about it and trying to figure out what those habits should be is yet another thing to add to your to-do list. So, I’ve come up with a list of 10 healthy habits for parents for you to use as a guideline. Tweak it, add some, subtract others–but let it help you add some balance and order to your life as you navigate the crazy and sometimes chaotic journey of parenting.
Habit #1 Eat healthy and exercise.
Pretty basic, huh? But in the busy-ness of parenting, it’s easy to neglect your own health. Schedule time for working out, walks, or do it with your kids, but don’t let physical self-care be neglected because you are too busy.
Habit #2: Make time for friends.
If you don’t have time to have an occasional coffee with a friend, then you are too busy. Start scheduling and prioritizing quality friendship time. It’s good for your mental health, and that translates to being good for your kids too.
Habit #3: Prioritize family time.
Make a point of sitting down as a family and putting quality family time on the calendar. Whether it’s a weekly game night or a monthly day outing–it will look different for every family. The important thing is to be intentional about it.
Habit #4: Find ways to empower yourself.
Whether it’s taking a class, reading a good book, getting counseling or coaching, or listening to a podcast–these are all habits that can help you feel stronger and more secure in who you are. It can mean finding a hobby, discovering a passion or even journaling your thoughts. Whatever makes you feel stronger as a person, that’s what you need to be doing. FIND that thing, or things, and commit to them.
Habit #5: Don’t neglect your sleep.
Of course there will be nights when you will lose sleep, whether it’s because of a sick kid, or late night work, but these should not be the norm. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommends that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Let that be your goal, and give yourself grace when it doesn’t happen.
Habit #6: Be silly and let loose.
Not only is laughter good medicine for your body and soul, it also creates bonds with the people you are laughing with. It’s okay for your kids to see you act silly, and it doesn’t matter if they roll their eyes as you dance in the kitchen or sing into your lotion bottle. Silliness is good for your relationship with your kids and good for your own mental health.
Habit #7: Have consistent family dinners.
With three kids playing sports, our family dinners were not 7 days a week. But we aimed for at least 4-5 nights of eating together. During those dinners, we shared highs and lows and talked about what was gong on in their lives. Family dinners are not a time for lectures; they are a time for connection.
Habit #8: If you are married, make your relationship a priority.
Schedule consistent date nights. Put them on the calendar and don’t let them get pushed aside because you are tired or too busy. Kids can easily get in the way of keeping a marriage strong, and if you don’t want to look at each other after they are gone and think, “Who are you?”, then make time to focus on each other.
Habit #9: Find something to believe in.
If you are a person of faith, then get serious about it. It can give you the strength you need each day. If you are not, then figure out what your compass is and let it guide you. We all need a reason for doing what we do.
Habit #10: Give yourself grace and re-evaluate.
You’re gonna blow it; every parent does. When that happens, give yourself grace, ask your child for forgiveness, and then ask yourself what you need to do differently next time. Making mistakes is forgivable, but not learning from them and repeating them over and over is not.
Do you wish you could incorporate these habits into your life? If you are struggling to develop any or all of them, perhaps it’s time to let someone give you some tools to help you. Please schedule a free call here, and let’s talk.