How to Raise Healthy Children
Cover Photo By Michael Morse
Most parents know that to raise healthy kids, the children need to have a good diet and plenty of exercise. There is more to it than that though. Their mental health is just as important as their physical well being and there are so many temptations for them in the big wide world. It can be difficult if some of their friends live on junk foods, for instance, to convince them that your way is better. It does help if you make healthy living a family affair, if you stay involved in their choices till they are much older and if you keep it simple for them. Children will always take the easy option, and if eating something healthy is that option, most time it will be their first choice.
Make Play Active
Try to spend an hour a day in some form of active play with the children. It does not need to be one hour straight off, and in fact, it is sometimes better if you do it in short burst of 10-15 minutes. Plays games such as hopscotch, hide and seek, blowing bubbles for them to catch, playing catch with a ball, or even football.
As well as being healthy for them, it will also help with your well being and let them know that you have time to put them first.
It is important that your children know how much you value activity and you can support the concept by going on family walks, making days out an activity, supporting them in their favorite sport and by making sure they have the right things to wear when they are outside, no matter how good or bad the weather is. You could even involve them in your yoga sessions, as generally, they are really good at this type of activity because their young bones and joints are still very flexible.
Turn The Screens Off Sometimes
The children of today have been born into a world of technology but that does not mean they need to spend all their free time watching TV or playing on their tablet. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time each day once they are past 2 years old. Let them choose which screen it is they want to watch and keep the tablets and TV’s in a common area of the home so it is simpler for you to monitor.
Plan any activities for when it is not their screen time, or they may start to resent playing games rather than them being the pleasure they should be.
Be Aware Of Health Problems
A child does not have to be in pain or being physically sick for them to have a health problem. In fact, there are conditions that they may not realize themselves. You can watch out for warning signs though and be aware that perhaps something is not quite right.
For instance, if your child does not follow the sound, does not always respond to your voice, needs to have the sound on the TV really high, or they appear to be generally inattentive, it could be that they have a hearing problem. Then is the time to seek pediatric audiology assistance, so that your child can have a hearing test to see how severe the problem is if there is one at all.
As a parent, you are likely to notice if something is not quite right with your child and you should always seek the right help to get the issue checked out.
Involve Them In Food Decisions
Most kids, regardless of age or gender, love to help in the kitchen. This is a great way to teach them what foods are good for them and which ones they should steer clear of. It also helps them to understand why you have decided that they and the rest of the family should eat this way, and that understanding can go a long way to fostering good eating habits in the future.
So much of life today is about convenience. Letting them help in the kitchen can show them that even cooking can be this way. Frozen vegetables for instance still have all the nutrients in them the same as fresh ones, and you can just take the amount you need out of the packet.
Make it fun for them to be part of the cooking process. Spend some time in the kitchen at the weekends, preparing meals you can freeze and pull out to cook when you get home from work. Include some desserts in the preparations you do, as there are many of those that can be healthy options too.
Remember that children learn by example from a very young age. If they see you eat healthily and get some exercise each day, they are more likely to do the same.