Parenting is hard enough. You have the responsibility to raise your kids while providing for their needs. While some parents can stay at home 24/7 to keep the house clean, take care of the kids, and cook dinner every night, this is not the reality for many busy parents. Juggling work and family life can be difficult, but providing your children with a healthy upbringing is possible even if you cannot be around all the time.
Here are some tips for busy parents who want to ensure they are still raising kids in a healthy environment.
Consider Programs Your Kids Can Go to After School
Many parents work a nine-to-five job, which is usually in the morning. This usually means the kids are getting out of school at the same time as you’re getting off of work. If both parents are working, someone must pick up the kids from school.
After-school care programs are an excellent solution to this problem. Here, your kids can play outside with supervision, get help with their homework, pursue some interests, and even enjoy healthy snacks. This can give you peace of mind knowing that your children are in a safe environment while waiting for you to get home.
There are many after-school care program providers, so be sure to do thorough research before enrolling your kids. Find one that is a convenient location, prioritizes your kid’s health and safety, and offers different activities that can accommodate your little one’s needs and interests.
With the right program, you can enjoy more quality with your kids. Instead of wrestling with them to finish their homework as soon as you get home, you can enjoy a meal together or play a game before bedtime. As for their homeworks, you only need to check if they managed to get everything done and help with the ones they need your help with.
Stock the House With Healthy Foods
Your kid’s diet is crucial for healthy growth and development. So, make sure they have access to healthy food items. This way, they can snack on something healthy when hungry instead of raiding the pantry for junk food.
Some healthy snacks you can keep at home are:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grain crackers or bread
- Cheese sticks
- Low-fat yogurt
- Nuts and seeds
Of course, you should also have a variety of healthy main dishes and side dishes that the whole family can enjoy. Planning ahead can help you save time and money while still being able to cook healthy meals. You can cook double the servings and freeze the extra portions for later. This way, you always have a nutritious meal ready whenever you need it.
You should also involve kids in meal preparation. This way, they can learn to cook and appreciate healthy food more. And, it’s a great bonding activity that you can do together.
Encourage Them to Be Active
Physical activity helps with kids’ physical development, improves their mood and mental health, and increases their focus. So, make it a point to encourage your kids to be active every day.
You can enroll them in sports or other physical activities like dance or martial arts classes. Or, you can create an active home environment by having some fun family games night where everyone can move around and have a good time.
You can also be more active as a family by going on nature hikes, bike rides, or swimming together on the weekends. Just make sure you take the necessary safety precautions when doing any physical activity.
Create a Healthy Routine the Kids Can Stick To
Routines provide structure and stability in everyone’s lives. This can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve behavior, and promote healthy habits. The earlier you start your kids on a healthy routine, the easier it will be for them to pick this up.
Sit down with your kids and create a daily routine everyone can follow. This should include regular mealtimes, bedtimes, and physical activity. You can also add some quiet time for them to read or do other activities they enjoy.
Of course, you should also be consistent with following the routine yourself. Kids learn by example, and if they see you sticking to the healthy habits you want them to develop, they are more likely to do the same.
Limit Their Screen Time
Time and time again, studies have shown that too much screen time can be harmful to kids’ physical and mental health. If you let gadgets babysit your kids, they can get addicted and have a hard time focusing on tasks that don’t involve screens.
So, create a healthy balance between screen time and other activities. You can have screen-free time in the house where everyone has to put away their gadgets and do something else. This can be reading, playing games, or spending time outdoors.
Experts recommned that kids under 2 years old should have no screen time at all. Kids 3 to 5 years can have 1 hour of screen time per day while kids 6 years old and up can enjoy 2 hours of screen time per day.
Of course, you can always adjust these recommendations depending on your child’s age and needs. Just ensure they’re not spending too much time in front of screens every day. Show them that you are also reducing your screen time.
Invest in Quality Time
No matter how busy you are, make time for your kids. They need your attention, love, and support. Otherwise, they can feel neglected and start to misbehave.
So, set aside time every day to spend with your kids without distractions. This is when you can really bond with them and listen to what they have to say.
You can also use this time to do fun activities together, like playing games, reading stories, or going out on adventures. Ask how their day went, what they want to do with the whole family, and what else they need for school or home. And when putting them to bed, have a heart-to-heart talk and give them some words of encouragement. This can really boost their morale and make them feel loved.
Don’t forget to tell them how much you love them, that you are proud of them, and that they can talk to you in times of trouble. These words can mean the world to them, especially during tough times.
Parenting is tough, but it’s definitely doable even when you’ve got a hectic work schedule. Just remember to make time for your kids, create a healthy routine, limit their screen time, and invest in quality time. You can also consider enrolling them in a program they can engage in after school. Do all these things, and you’ll be able to raise happy and healthy kids despite your busy schedule.