The first step to cleaning up a family’s routine (which can be 1 person up to a full household) is to have systems in place to keep you on track. This does not mean perfection, but it will reduce the number of times that comfort or ease will overrule your desire to make a healthy or better decision.
Set a schedule for meal planning throughout the week. Decide which meals will be at home, which ones are open for fun and create your grocery list from there. For the planned meals, you can make larger quantities and use the leftovers throughout the week rather than having to make more specific meals. It also helps your grocery list be more specific so that you don’t get to the grocery store and spend more than you intended while buying things that don’t form any meals. Plan when to grocery shop and when to meal prep, which can be the same day every week or can fluctuate depending on your family’s schedule and week. Trying to eat as many whole foods as possible is the best way to nourish your body. For your pantry, try to avoid filling it with preservative filled snacks that don’t have nutritional value. If that’s what you have on back-up, you will end up eating those foods rather than taking the time to cook full, nourishing meals.
For families that have multiple schedules to balance, plan in your family time! Whether that be an intentional family sit down dinner every night, or an hour before bed where you are intentional – figure out what time works best and then stick to it. When we don’t schedule in intentional times that we think will naturally just happen, we end up forfeiting things that are actually really important to us. Be intentional to schedule things that might end up being compromised or pushed aside for more urgent matters!
A great way to do two things simultaneously is to do something active for family time! It’s easy to go through the whole day thinking you moved more than you did because mental and emotional energy is still being expended regardless of what you have done. You end up feeling run down, your head is foggy and often sleep is harder to achieve. Finding ways to move as a family is also helpful for all members of the family. This could be outside having a snowball fight, playing at the playground, going ice skating or roller skating, riding bikes or even just having a dance party inside. Any movement is better than no movement, but based on an article I recently read, it’s actually quite more than we think. For optimal development, pediatric occupational therapist Angela J. Hanscom recommends:
- a minimum of 90 minutes of tummy time per day for babies
- 5-8 hours of big play for toddlers and preschoolers
- 4-5 hours of physical activity for Elementary age
- 3-4 hours of physical activity for Adolescents
Chiropractic care is another great way to help keep everyone moving and healthy! I have many moms who bring in their kids and say something like “they have just been more grumpy this week so I knew it was time”. When our bodies are fighting dysfunction in the spine and nervous system, it affects every other system. For each individual person that dysfunction can express itself in different ways such as: grumpiness, colic in babies, difficulty sleeping, headaches, pain, tightness, chronic illness and/or increased susceptibility to sickness, etc.
There are so many different areas of life that could use “cleaning up” because our environment is made up of so many different components. Instead of being overwhelmed, make a plan now to address a different area each month for the next year. For example, April could be focused on food while May is focused on movement. Think about making the best decision possible in every situation rather than making a bad decision only because the best possible isn’t available or easy.
-Dr. Sophie Mills