Searching for ways to get your kids to sleep early, eat their vegetables, and spend some time outdoors instead of on their phones? No better way than to lead by example and get the whole family involved!

Besides helping you raise healthy kids, building healthy family habits can also be fun! Here are some goals you can work towards and ideas for how to hit them.

#1 Get sufficient sleep

The amount of sleep you need varies with age, ranging from 10 hours for pre-schoolers to nine for adults. But while you might not need as much sleep as the children, it’s going to be hard to persuade them to hit the sack if they sense you’re going to be up for a few more hours having fun without them.

So start sleeping earlier and create a bedtime routine you can do together! This involves simple tasks like brushing your teeth, putting away devices for the night, reading a storybook and more. What’s important is that you keep it consistent and relaxing so everyone will wind down and be ready for bed.

To get the healthy habit to really stick, you can even have a competition to see who can go the most number of days clocking the minimum number of hours of sleep and let the winner choose where the next family outing will be.

#2 Sharing about your day

Taking time to share about your day is a healthy habit with multiple benefits. Besides helping you bond with your child, it can help build your child’s social skills, vocabulary, and emotional management.

When it’s your child’s turn to share, keep the following tips in mind: ask open-ended questions, build on what they say, prompt them, and observe their facial expressions. And if you’re looking for time to slot this in — maybe make it part of your bedtime routine!

#3 Family meals once a week

As the children grow up and their time gets filled with extra-curricular activities, friends, school, work and more, it’s inevitably going to get harder and harder to find time to spend together. So start cultivating a healthy family habit of having a family meal at least once a week as early as possible.

Once the kids are used to it and see it as “tradition”, they’re much more likely to make plans around the day than cancel. Plus, family meals are a great time for you to model healthy eating habits!

#4 Walk, cycle, ride!

Think you’ve got no time to hit the Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines? You’d be surprised at the number of minutes you can clock if you walk, cycle, or ride instead of driving! And if you climb stairs instead of taking the lift. So set a weekly steps or distance target for the family, and then race to see who can complete it first! Besides being fun, this healthy family habit is also beneficial for both the family and the earth!

#5 Meal preparation

As convenient as it is to take away from the hawker centre or order GrabFood, sometimes the best way to ensure you’re eating healthy is to cook it yourself. Get the whole family involved in the meal preparation process, from shopping for groceries to the actual cooking. Use this time to teach the young ones about concepts like My Healthy Plate and how to read nutritional labels, so they grow up with healthy habits even as they hone their cooking skills.