Rule #1 -- Start small and make changes slowly. continued...
How to do it: To make sure your kids are getting enough sleep, set a bedtime and stick to it. Re-establish the rule. For example, “Bedtime is at 8.” Then help your kids wind down for bed by getting back in sync with their normal bedtime routine. Falling in line with the ritual of brushing teeth, getting a glass of water, and reading one book -- or whatever your family’s ritual is -- can help your kids and their bodies recognize it is time for sleep. Keep in mind that whatever bedtime you pick, if you can stick to it on the weekends, too, it will make your life easier.
- Eat together. It's easy to let family meals slide when things get busy, but they're important. Family meals offer you a time to connect. There's also a clear health benefit. Studies show that kids who eat with their family tend to eat healthier and are less likely to be obese.
How to do it: Need to break the fast-food cycle? Plan ahead. It is easier to eat better if there are healthy options on hand.
Make a list of the food you will need for the week. It may be easier to plan it out meal by meal. If certain nights are going to be too busy to cook, try planning out a few meals you can cook ahead of time on a day when you have extra time. Have more time on Tuesday? Cook extra chicken breasts you can cut up and throw on lettuce and pre-cut veggies Wednesday night for fast, no-cook salads.
Or make a double batch of your favorite healthy dishes on nights you have time. Then, stash them in the freezer for days when you are too rushed to do anything but hit “start” on the microwave.
Tips to Know While You’re Working to Get Back on Track
Expect resistance. Whenever you make a change to the family rhythm or adjust your parenting style, your kids are not going to like it. But it is worth it. Stick with it and they will adapt. Remember that while kids may not like rules and routine, they need them. They feel safer and more relaxed knowing what the limits are, say experts.