Do you ever feel like you are in a constant state of self-improvement? So often, we beat ourselves up for our weaknesses and try to make them better. I definitely find myself in this cycle regularly.
No doubt, I’m a big believer in continuous improvement. But I also think it’s good to give ourselves a little credit for the good things we do every day. To get the wheels turning about the good choices you and your family make each day, here are six things we consistently do as family that we can pat ourselves on the back for.
Start The Day with A Wholesome Breakfast
As a kid, in college, and now as an adult, I’ve been almost religious about eating breakfast. Especially in college, waking up a few minutes earlier for a good breakfast made me an outlier. But I knew it made a big difference in how I felt throughout the day.
With our boys, I make it a point to ensure they eat something every morning before school. Usually we make sure it has a protein (eggs, leftover chicken in a tortilla, or peanut butter toast are favorites). Sometimes the boys end up eating cream of wheat, pierogies, or French toast (on special occasions). But no matter what, I’ve made it a principle that breakfast is a must. I know how important is it for healthy development and brain functioning, especially for kids, and we’ve done a good job ensuring our boys understand that breakfast is a big deal.
Brush Our Teeth Twice a Day
Although not always a walk in the park, we’ve finally trained our boys to brush their teeth every morning and every night before bed. Getting the boys to brush their teeth used to be like a wrestling match with no shortage of bribery. Ugh. They just hated it.
Over time, we’ve turned brushing their teeth with into a competition. Who can make the most bubbles?! We also made sure to choose a toothpaste they liked.
Made in the USA, Hello toothpaste has no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, no dyes, no microbeads, and no triclosan. The packaging is made from 100% recycled paperboard and printed with soy inks, while the tubes are bpa-free and contain no phthalates.
With all the candy and sweets we consume around the holidays, it’s especially important for our boys to keep their teeth clean this time of year. And anything, including good tasting toothpaste that’s more natural than most brands and helps our boys keep their teeth cleaner is a winner in my book.
Read to the Boys Everyday
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that a new attitude shed a whole light on reading to our boys. Every night, (almost) without fail, we read at least two books together, and sometimes more. On a rare occasion when the boys are up several hours past their typical bedtime, we might skip reading, but that’s definitely not the norm.
Listen to Engaging Podcasts
I appreciate that podcasts open my mind to lots of new ideas, perspectives and lifestyles. I listen to at least one podcast each day during drive time when I’m alone in the car.
When the opportunity presents itself, I sometimes get a chance to listen to more than one. Those are pretty good days. But I suspect it’s good for my brain to entertain engaging content and challenge it with new and sometimes complex ideas regularly.
Meal Plan on Sundays
Our boys bring their own lunches to school everyday. When we first moved to Philadelphia, this was a new practice for us (school in Chicago used to serve the boys some pretty healthy and tasty meals). It took a little getting used to, but we’ve started to get the hang of knowing what they like and will eat yet also is generally healthy.
Making meals from scratch each morning was too time consuming for us, so each Sunday, we plan and prepare one or two meals for the boys and they take the same meal most of the week. (We plan breakfast similarly as well). We pack some fresh fruit and one vegetable with a protein as the main component. They don’t seem to mind the repetition, especially if the protein is wrapped in a tortilla (which seems to turn everything into mealtime gold according to the boys).
Our meal planning also includes a general dinner plan for the week. We typically prepare one or two main dishes on Sunday and make the rest throughout the week. But just having the ideas on paper and the ingredients on hand makes putting a healthy meal on the table so much more manageable.
Wear Seat Belts
This probably seems like an odd addition to the list because it’s so second-nature to most of us. But surprisingly, I know a handful of people who don’t always wear their seat belts. And that it’s such an obvious good habit is precisely the point of patting ourselves on the back for all the good decisions we make each day, many of which are not even conscious choices.
We ingrained in our boys’ minds the importance of their seat belts so strongly that they never fail to remind us if we forget to buckle them in (which admittedly has happened a handful of times when I was distracted by other things while getting in the car). They’re reminding me to put on their seat belts as soon as I turn on the car. They even get excited about buckling their own belts now that they’re getting old enough to do it themselves.
Little Healthy Habits Make a Big Difference
None of these daily activities in and of themselves will make or break a healthy lifestyle. But creating good small habits about simple health and wellness makes a big deal in the long run.
Already, we see our boys begin to understand which foods are healthy and which are junk. T is starting to regularly negotiate what healthy foods he can eat in exchange for a dose of “junk”. They remind us when they forget to brush their teeth or buckle their seat belts. And they’ve come to love the library and the reading time we share together each night.
If you haven’t thought about the good habits you practice each day, take a few minutes and give yourself a little credit. Also, don’t forget to enter the Hello toothpaste giveaway just by choosing your favorite flavor and letting me know if the comments of either this Facebook post or this Instagram post. Good luck!