Bonding: Eating as a family to build stronger connections. *Photo supplied
Bonding: Eating as a family to build stronger connections. *Photo supplied

As parents, there are many things we want for our children. 

We want them to grow up to love and be loved, to follow their dreams and to find success. Mostly, though, we want them to be happy. One of the most important things you can do to promote a child’s lifelong well-being is to provide a feeling of being connected, which starts with family. 

Creating a sense of community in your family and building traditions and rituals gives kids strong anchors back into the family when they are older. Rituals can be as simple as saying “I love you” to each child as he or she heads off to school, celebrating birthdays and holidays in special ways or having a family activity night for games, crafts or watching family videos. 

Parents with more than one child should try to spend a little time interacting just with one child each day, even if it’s just for ten minutes. 

Bonding

That special time with a parent helps the child feel special and bonded with you. Family meals are a comforting ritual for both parents and kids. 

Children like the predictability of family meals and it gives everyone a chance to catch up with each other. 

In addition, family meals offer the chance for parents to act as a role model for healthy eating. Afterall, a happy child is a healthy child. 

Kids who take part in regular family meals are more likely to eat fruits, vegetables and grains, and less likely to snack on unhealthy foods.

Food high in salt and sugar may taste appealing, but it will wreak havoc with your family’s health and moods. 

Create healthy snacking habits by leaving out bowls of fruit, cut-up vegetables, nuts or dried fruit. Try cooking together as another way to get kids interested in healthy foods. 

Preparing dinner with your children not only encourages healthy eating habits but it also teaches cooking, measurement, teamwork and improvisational skills. 

Children who help make meals are more likely to eat them.

Stay active

Another major component to living a healthy lifestyle is staying active. What better way to teach your children about the importance of being active than joining them in exercising? 

In Bermuda, we have many hours of sunshine and warm temperatures, creating plenty of opportunities to be outside with our families, walking, running around, swimming in the ocean and playing sports or games. 

One great exercise that your whole family can enjoy is jumping or skipping rope. The activity has seen a huge resurgence in today’s adult population. It’s a cost-effective and portable exercise that is great exercise. 

In fact, the effort it takes to jump rope for 10 minutes is the equivalent of running a mile in eight minutes and one hour of rope skipping will burn up to 1,300 calories. 

In addition, jumping rope is a body activity that engages every muscle and helps to develop such athletic features as coordination, agility, quickness, balance, speed, anaerobic and aerobic conditioning and bone density. 

Skipping also helps to improve heart rate and blood pressure.

It’s for these reasons that the Argus Group has been a regular sponsor of the Bermuda Heart Foundation’s Jump 2b Fit campaign. 

The goals of the programme are to stimulate interest in jumping rope and other physical activities, increase awareness about the importance of regular exercise and to teach participants various jump rope techniques. 

Once you have skipping down, there are ways you can incorporate the exercise into a family activity, such as jump rope racing. You don’t have to jump rope in one place; you can do it on the run and in a race against the rest of the family. 

Also, Double Dutch is the perfect family jump roping exercise because everybody can get involved. Just switch being the rope turners and the jumpers so everyone gets a chance to exercise.

Take advantage of incorporating family activities and living a healthy lifestyle into your daily routine. 

Not only will you be raising healthy children, but you’ll also be instilling good habits so that, when they grow up, they’ll be able to make their own decisions about exercise and healthy food choices. Of course, have some fun along the way!

For more information on Jump 2b Fit and general nutrition and exercise, visit the wellness resources section of the Wellness Programme at www.argus.bm/wellness.

Brenda Dale is an Assistant Vice President and Project Manager at the Argus Group, with responsibility for managing the Wellness Programme. She joined the company in 2009 and has 30 years of experience at a senior management level, mostly in the public sector, including 18 months as the Health Promotion Coordinator for the Bermuda Government. Brenda has a Masters of Public Administration as well as several industry certifications. www.argus.bm