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3 Science-Backed Ways to Create Health Habits Together as a Family

Published April 01, 2024

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One of our missions here at Begin Health is to provide families with knowledge and resources that empower parents to cultivate healthy habits that promote overall well-being together. Establishing health-conscious routines as a family can not only help promote healthy behaviors, but it also strengthens bonds and creates the foundation for your kid’s future health. Let's explore 3 science-backed methods to prioritize and build healthy habits collectively as a family this year. 

Model Healthy Behaviors

Kids learn by example, making parental influence pivotal in shaping their health habits. Researchers revealed in studies published in theJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior  that when parents exhibit positive behaviors like consuming nutritious foods, engaging in physical activity, and practicing mindfulness, their kids are more likely to follow suit.

Create healthier habits by encouraging family meals together centered around wholesome, balanced foods rich in fiber. Choosing engaging physical activities such as walks, bike rides, or family dance sessions together can also help kids choose health-promoting exercises. These shared experiences not only promote health but also create lasting memories and reinforce the importance of a healthy lifestyle to your little ones.

Establish Routine and Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to instilling healthy habits.Studies on the psychology of habits emphasizes repetition and consistency as significant factors to long-term habit formation. Establishing regular meal times, consistent sleep schedules, and designated family activity periods contribute to creating a structured routine that supports health-conscious habits.

Begin Health Expert Tip

Studies show that consistency matters, especially when it comes to nutrition choices. Kids who consume prebiotics, such as Begin Health’s Daily Growing Up Prebiotics on a regular basis can see improvements in their regularity within six weeks of use. 

Habit Stacking Healthy Activities Together 

Habit stacking involves attaching a new behavior to an existing habit, making it easier to incorporate positive changes into daily routines. For example, pairing family meals with discussing the day's highlights or challenges can reinforce the habit of open communication while promoting healthier eating habits. Similarly, integrating physical activities into regular family outings or weekend routines can create opportunities for shared experiences and active living. ​​Habit stacking increases the likelihood of new habit formation by simplifying the process of behavior integration into daily life. Habit stacking also encouragesconsistency to new habits over time, leading to long-term behavior change and improved outcomes. 

Summary 

Creating healthy habits as a family is an investment in your kid’s long-term well-being. By modeling healthy behaviors, establishing consistent routines, and habit stacking health-promoting activities together, you're not just fostering good gut health but also nurturing a supportive environment that prioritizes health and togetherness.

References

  • Gardner B, Lally P, Wardle J. Making health habitual: the psychology of 'habit-formation' and general practice. Br J Gen Pract. 2012 Dec;62(605):664-6. doi: 10.3399/bjgp12X659466. PMID: 23211256; PMCID: PMC3505409.
  • Fulkerson JA, Larson N, Horning M, Neumark-Sztainer D. A review of associations between family or shared meal frequency and dietary and weight status outcomes across the lifespan. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2014;46(1):2-19.
  • Carson V, Lee EY, Hewitt L, et al. Systematic review of the relationships between physical activity and health indicators in the early years (0-4 years). BMC Public Health. 2017;17(Suppl 5):854.
  • Berge JM, Truesdale KP, Sherwood NE, et al. Beyond the dinner table: who's having breakfast, lunch and dinner family meals and which meals are associated with better diet quality and BMI in pre-school children? Public Health Nutr. 2017;20(15):2648-2659.
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