10 Health Goals Every Family Should Follow

Is stress giving you sleepless nights? Are you falling ill on a regular basis? It's never too late to take charge of your health. Know how by following health goals as discussed in this article.

By Monali Bordoloi  • 10 min read

10 Health Goals Every Family Should Follow

Praneeth and Madhavi Agarwal are working parents with two school-going kids. Of late, they have realised that all of them are suffering from borderline obesity. The doctor attributed this to their sedentary lifestyle.This came as a wake up call. Praneeth and Madhavi decided it was time to win back their health. Today, they discuss and motivate each other to follow the schedule of eating in time, exercising daily and maintaining a regular sleep pattern, among others.

As a family, the first step towards getting healthy is to set specific health goals. The process of setting and following health goals together enables children to develop a lifelong positive attitude towards embracing a healthy lifestyle.

Goals for physical health:

When you are setting health goals for the family, invite everyone to participate in the discussion and seek their opinion on how to achieve that goal.

1. Be active

Exercising together every day helps a family stay fit and bond better. It is a great time for the parents to connect with their child and spend some quality time together.

Here’s how:

  • Go for family walks and cycle regularly. 
  • Shed your inhibitions and dance with your kid, whenever possible.
  • Take a gym membership and exercise together.
  • Take your dog out for walks daily. Combine walking and running with this activity.
  • Do an outdoor activity together such as jogging, swimming or gardening.

2. Eat right

Set a goal to serve and eat healthy nutritious food. It is important to eat the right kind of food at the right time.

Here’s how:

  • Discuss with your family how eating healthy will benefit them. 
  • Include fruits and vegetables daily in your diet.
  • Stock up on healthy snacks like dry fruits, sprouts.
  • Limit eating out, avoid processed and fast food and include whole grains in your diet.
  • Encourage your kids to eat breakfast before they go out of the house.
  • Cook and eat together as a family. 

Watch the video below to know the importance of dinner time (bonding time)

3. Drink more water

Set a goal to drink more water. Dehydration can bring hunger pangs and cravings for sweets. Water can help you feel fuller. Cut down on cold drinks and juices.

Here’s how:

Water jar activity

  • Keep a transparent water jar. Draw some animals such as an ant and a tiger to mark specific water levels on the bottle. Or you can stick some small toy animals too. Now, ask  your child to drink water till the market touches his favourite animal. You can give them colourful straws to drink water too.

Go through our article to know four more ways to get your child drink water.

4. Maintain good hygiene

A clean environment keeps illnesses at bay. Set hygiene rules at home and make sure it is followed.

Here’s how:

  • Make washing hands a family habit. To make it interesting, ask children to sing the "Happy Birthday" song while washing hands. They should wash hands till they finish singing the song.  
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating and cooking.
  • Maintain personal hygiene like trimming nails, hair, taking a bath.
  • If you have teenage daughters, teach them menstrual hygiene.
  • Brush your teeth twice daily.

Goals for mental health:

It is said that a sound mind lives in a sound body. Just like physical health, it is important that we take care of our mental health as well. A family looking to stay healthy should set some mental health goals.

5. Open communication

Communication is the key when it comes bonding as a family. Many problems which students, teenagers face today can be solved at home if there is open communication.

Here’s how:

Dr Nithya Poornima Santosh, clinical psychologist, NIMHANS, Bangalore says, “Loving speech and deep listening as recommended by Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, is both a process and a goal.”

  • Listen well and speak nicely. These are ways of achieving better communication with family members.
  • Monitor your children and check for signs of withdrawal, depression etc.

6. Get some sleep

For optimum health, sleep is one of the most important factors. Adults need around eight to nine hours of sleep. In a report by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), it is said that kids aged between three to five years need around 11 to 13 hours of sleep while children aged five to 12 years need 10 to 11 hours of sleep.

Here’s how:

  • Maintain a consistent time to go to bed every night.
  • Follow a bedtime routine, like brushing, wearing a night dress.
  • Limit screen time before bed. Teenagers are constantly on the phone, which disturbs their sleep patterns. 

Watch the video below to understand the importance of 'reading together' time.

7. Reduce stress

Dr Veena Muttu, who has worked with Indian Army, says, “Avoiding stress completely is not possible, we need to learn to manage it positively. Active lifestyle with a positive attitude can keep stress at bay. Stress can be reduced, and just like everything else, it also has a solution.”

Here’s how:

  • Set some exclusive 'me time' to unwind.
  • If there is an issue that is bothering you, discuss it with family and friends. Or you can write it down and discuss it with experts of the field if you feel there is any need.
  • Try the de-stress jar activity. Keep a jar at home with sheets of paper that have fun activities written on them like directions for playing a quick treasure hunt with your child or breaking into an instant two-minute laughter challenge. Every time you feel stressed out, take out a piece of paper from that jar and act out the message written on it. Your stress levels will surely go down!
  • Play simple games like hide and seek, knock knock with your children. Games are a great way to reduce stress level.

8. Pursue a hobby

Cultivating a hobby is a great way to maintain mental health.Take time out of your busy schedule to pursue a hobby or do something you are passionate about.

Here’s how:

  •  As a family, if music interests you, choose to learn to play a new instrument together.
  •  Make DIY crafts together to decorate the house, or make useful items out of discarded things like old bottles for pen stands, etc.

9. Manage your anger

It is normal to lose temper sometimes. However, excessive anger can impact your mental health. This, in turn, can affect the physical health. 

Here’s how:

  • When you are about to lose your temper, think about the funniest incident in your life, it will offset your rage.
  • Count numbers from one to hundred and back till you feel relaxed.

10. Be content and happy 

It is very important to be content and happy with your surroundings. Not finding faults in everything and enjoying the small pleasures of life will bring about true health and wellness.

Here’s how:

  • Meditate, it will help you stay calm under all circumstances.
  • Smile more, smile often. 

Tips to set family health goals:

  • Include physical activities which everyone in your family enjoys - walking, running, cycling, hiking or gardening. 
  • It's always better to set realistic and specific health goals, which should come with a timeframe. 
  • Talk to your kids about the need for health goals and discuss healthier food choices.
  • Pursue fun and interesting hobbies as a family.
  • Take out some time to meditate every day. 

Remember, the most important thing is to make your health goals fun and engaging. This way, your children and you will be encouraged to pursue them to the fullest. And in time, you will reap the benefits for sure.

After all, a confident mind and a confident body is all it takes to lead a healthy life.

About the author:

Written by Monali Bordoloi on 10 April 2018.

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