Family Rules that Promote Fitness

Adopt these rules for a healthier, fitter family.

Simple, direct family rules help establish your values (that's why they're all "we" statements) and teach kids what's important to you. While every family has different needs and priorities, consider including these 8 rules in your family code of conduct. They will help everyone live a healthier life, both now and in the future.

We eat together as a family.

Family rules, eat meals together
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Gathering 'round the dinner (or breakfast, or lunch) table regularly helps you connect as a family. It also helps kids learn to slow down and focus on their food, eat a variety of healthy foods, practice good table manners, and so on.

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We turn off our screens.

This one's important for everyone, not just kids! Setting limits on screen time makes room in your schedule for family time, homework, and physical activity. And it's only fair (not to mention much more effective) when parents impose the same limits on themselves.

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We play outside.

Make family time really count by sharing active play. There are lots of activities that families can share and enjoy, no matter what ages and skill levels you have. Of course, indoor play is fun, but going outside seems to promote each more physical activity for everyone.

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We walk to school.

Walking, biking, or even riding a scooter to school, work, and other destinations (say, running errands or going to sports practice) helps everyone get more exercise. Plus it saves money and reduces carbon emissions, so it's a win-win-win.

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We support each other.

When kids play sports or mom and dad run races, family support is key. Kids need to know that their parents love and accept them unconditionally, no matter what sport they choose and how well they perform. And adults need to know, from each other and from their kids, that their health is important, and fitness should be a priority.

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We are respectful.

This one is big and broad, extending from good sportsmanship through how children and teens talk to teachers, neighbors, elderly relatives, friends' parents, and so on. Of course, it's also important within the family. You'll have a much more peaceful, happy home if everyone treats each other with respect and kindness.

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We all take care of our home.

Speaking of respect: This rule helps kids appreciate their home and  the hard work that goes in to keeping it clean and maintained. Even preschoolers can pitch in, and doing so helps them feel self-confident and independent. Bigger kids can contribute to the household by doing regular chores.

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We help others.

If giving back to your community is important to you, make service a family rule. You can find opportunities to help through your child's school, your place of worship, or local non-profits. Volunteering for outdoor service projects is a wonderful way to spend time together, get some exercise, and contribute to your community as well.

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