How Life Rhythm Can Benefit Your Child

Life Rhythm

Have you ever thought about how rhythm plays a role in our daily lives? From music to routines, rhythm is all around us. In fact, having a consistent "life rhythm" can greatly benefit children's wellbeing.

When children don't have a sense of routine and rhythm, they can feel stressed, anxious, and insecure. But by establishing a better life rhythm, you can help them feel more secure and comfortable with how their days run. Plus, it can benefit the entire family's healthy lifestyle by reducing stress and creating a sense of predictability.

In this article, we'll explore the impact of life rhythm on children and share some tips on establishing a better rhythm for your family.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for children's physical and mental wellbeing. It helps with memory retention, the immune system, and regulating appetite. When they lack sleep, children may experience hormone imbalances that lead to overeating and cravings for unhealthy foods. And while screen time is now a part of many children's lives, it can harm sleep quality and quantity.

To help establish a better sleep rhythm, start by keeping a sleep diary for the entire family. This can help you identify if anyone from your family is not getting enough sleep.

As a rough guide, pre-schoolers should aim for 10-13 hours of sleep per night, primary school children should get about 10 hours, and older children should get at least nine hours. Adults should aim for eight hours of sleep a night.

To improve your child's sleep, you can:

  • Create an environment that encourages sleep – think about lighting and noise.
  • Stick to regular bedtimes and a nighttime routine.
  • Allow time for your child to have the right amount of sleep for their age.
  • Avoid screen time for at least one to two hours before bed.
  • Encourage winding down before bed, reading a book, or listening to gentle music.

With these practices, you can help establish a healthy sleep rhythm for your family, which can improve their overall wellbeing and make them more alert for the next day.

Plan meals and snacks

Meals are a key component of a healthy lifestyle, and a healthy eating rhythm ensures you and your family get the necessary nutrients daily. In contrast, irregular or infrequent meals can lead to unhealthy eating habits, including overeating and choosing less nutritious options.

Here’s how you can create healthy eating rhythms.

Set up a regular eating schedule

Research shows that eating at random times increases the risk of obesity, so it's important to establish a routine for meal times. Eating too late in the day can also be problematic as it slows down our metabolism and increases the risk of developing health problems.

To build a regular eating routine, you need to:

  • decide how many meals and snacks you want your child to eat
  • note the times you'd like to set aside for eating.
  • consider adding a snack time in between if there is a big gap between meals and they’re active
  • think practically and adjust the timing of your meals and snacks to suit your daily schedule

Plan the week’s meals ahead

Once you have your eating routine mapped out, plan your week's meals so you know what to prepare and when. This can help you avoid grabbing quick and unhealthy meals when you're short on time.

If you need to cook a meal, set a phone alarm to remind you when to start cooking. This will help you stay on track and avoid missing meal times.

Eliminate unhealthy triggers

Remove unhealthy options from your fridge and pantry to encourage healthier eating habits. Ensure you keep healthy snacks on hand when you're out and about to manage times when your kid is hungry.

And lastly, avoid driving past your child's favourite takeaway on the way home from school, as this can trigger unhealthy eating habits.

You can create a healthier eating environment for your family by eliminating these unhealthy triggers.

Remember, establishing a healthy eating routine takes time and effort but is worth it in the long run. Stick with it; it will soon become a regular part of your family's daily routine.

Make exercise a habit

Regular exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle for kids, but it can be tough to know where to start. Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend at least 60 minutes daily, but it doesn't have to be a chore.

Think about what exercise would work for you and your family. What activities do you enjoy? Is there a park nearby? To help you get started, here are some simple tips for you and your family:

Start small and make it enjoyable

Encourage your family to take the stairs instead of the escalator. You can also play a game of catch in the backyard. Try to find activities you and your family enjoy doing together, such as a bike ride or a game of basketball at the park.

Lead by example

Modelling regular exercise yourself is a great way to encourage children to get moving. You could jog together or walk around the neighbourhood after dinner.

Make it a routine

Having a regular exercise routine can help you develop healthy habits for life. Choose a time that works for your family and stick to it as much as possible.

Keep it fun and low-pressure

Don't put too much pressure on kids to perform or achieve a certain fitness level. The important thing is that they're having fun and moving.

Limit sedentary activities

While it's important to get children moving, it's also crucial to limit sedentary activities such as TV and online time. Encourage them to take regular breaks from screens and engage in a physical activity instead.

Keep in mind that your goal is to make exercise a regular part of your family's routine and help them develop a lifelong love of physical activity. With a little creativity and commitment, you can help them stay active and healthy.

Need help creating a life rhythm for you and your family?

At Childhood Obesity Prevention, we understand how challenging it can be to change your life rhythm alone. We can create a plan to help you build new habits and routines so you and your family can reach your health and wellbeing goals. We have a range of support options available to suit your family, from self-guiding your journey to healthier habits with our book Ride to Life, through to personal consultations.