We see all you hardworking parents out there. You’re doing your darndest to impart sage parental nuggets to your precious kiddos. Sometimes they’re totally receptive. Other times? Not so much.
We get it; parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. Plus, you’re trying to take care of your own health and – as the flight attendants say – put your own oxygen mask on first.
You already know it’s super important to teach your kids to care about their gut health, mental health, and general well-being from an early age. But what’s the best way to accomplish this gargantuan feat? Together, of course!
Keep reading for tips to help your team make the dream work.
Treat Yourself With Love + Respect
News Flash: Your kids are always watching you, even when they’re ignoring you. In turn, they will mirror your habits and values. If they hear adults dissing their own bodies (“I’m so fat” or “I can’t eat that”), it may influence how they view themselves. Instead, work at being the role model your kids need to see. State positive things about yourself and acknowledge that perfection is a social media myth. Read 5 Ways to Show Your Body Some Love here. Model body positivity and healthy habits around food and exercise. Eating disorders among young people have spiked in the past 20 years. So, it’s critical to teach kids to love their bodies by fueling them with healthy foods and movement.
Eat A Balanced Diet
Everyone’s gut health will benefit from a healthy diet, including fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and lean protein. It gives the body all the nutrients it needs, including fiber, a powerful equalizer in gut bacteria. Here are some easy gut-friend swaps. Picky eater? Try carrots or red peppers with hummus, steamed edamame, or black-bean quesadillas with avocado on whole-grain tortillas to get more fiber into your kid's diet. Ditch the processed foods and load up on dietary probiotics with live bacteria, such as yogurt. Prebiotics such as asparagus, bananas, apples, and oats are vital because they help good bacteria thrive. Here’s an easy Gut-Friendly Overnight Oats recipe to try. And cook with your kids. They’ll love being a part of the planning and preparing healthy meals. Not to mention they are more likely to eat what they made.
Sleep plays a key role in gut health. Why? When you’re asleep, your body has time to efficiently use the nutrients you and your family consumed throughout the day. Lack of sleep can also mess with the bacteria levels in the gut. Gut health isn’t the only reason to prioritize sleep. According to Johns Hopkins, kids who regularly get adequate sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, and even depression. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends ages 4-12 months: 12-16 hours (including naps); ages 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps); ages 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (including naps); ages 6-12 years: 9-12 hours; ages 13-18 years: 8-10 hours. And don’t be tempted to burn the midnight oil after you tuck your kiddos in bed. You need sleep, too! For more advice, check out our blog on Why You Need a Sleep Routine.
Take Mental Health and Stress Seriously
Make it normal to talk about mental health. According to USA Today, one of the biggest barriers to asking for help is the shame and stigma that still surround mental health struggles. Normalizing mental health through honest dialogue helps children understand that they don’t need to be ashamed if they are having a hard time. Resources like HealthyChildren.org, the Family Resource Center at the Child Mind Institute, and MentalHealth.gov can help us start such conversations. Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General, says it’s not always easy to know whether a child is struggling with their mental health, but there are certain signs to look for. Maybe you’ve noticed that a child in your life seems more anxious, stressed, or short-tempered. Maybe they’re finding it harder to concentrate and their performance in school is suffering. Maybe they're fighting more with friends or are more withdrawn. Maybe their sleeping or eating patterns have changed. Additionally, gut health suffers when stress becomes chronic. Read more about The Impact of Stress on Digestion here.
Regular physical activity can help improve the body's metabolism, making it more efficient at digesting food. Recent studies have also suggested that exercise can improve the diversity of bacteria in the gut, ultimately improving gut health and overall health. Make it a family affair. Incorporate an after-dinner walk or bike ride into your daily schedule. Are you a runner? How about having your child bike alongside you to spur you on? There are all kinds of ways to sneak in movement to the day. Family exercise time can be a fantastic way to connect in a healthy way.
Establishing healthy habits for yourself and your family is a worthy goal. Looking for more tips on how habit building? We’ve got you! Head to How to Build Habits That Stick.
Think of Zenwise® as your family’s digestive health and well-being cheerleader. Besides offering info on the latest research and trends, we also have a full line of digestive support products.
Indeed, when it comes to digestive health, Zenwise® has got you covered. Contact our Customer Service Team, who can answer your questions seven days a week at email@example.com or M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (800) 940-1972.