As parents, we’ve got a lot of responsibilities on our hands. Not only do we have to grow and bring a new human being into the world, we have to feed them and clothe them and do our best to make sure they become thriving, happy adults. Of course, the caring and loving them part comes naturally but all the little things involved in raising small children can be, let’s just say, pretty challenging for the best of us!
And one of the thing that keeps plaguing us parents is how we can keep our kids as healthy as possible, in body and in mind. We don’t want them to be the ‘sick ones’ who make it to about ¼ of their classes, thanks to falling victim to yet another tummy bug or flu. Nor do we want external evils, like sugar, tempting them into developing disorders like diabetes or obesity as they get older.
But keeping our kids healthy doesn’t have to be rocket science. (Phew!) Follow these simple health care tips and you can ensure a healthier, happier, childhood for your little ones.
1. Start your day in a healthy way
The saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” might be thrown around a lot; but it’s for a good reason! Breakfast truly is the best possible start to your day. It can be the difference between your kids having an energetic, creative and great day at school or an unmotivated, unproductive, crappy one. The difference between them being sunny, “glass-half-full” kind of kids or moody, bratty ones. I know which I’d prefer in my house!
Having family meals together is an important point in itself, but especially in the morning. Enjoy some quality time before everyone rushes off, give them the confidence and support they need to face the day and they’ll feel more mentally prepared for whatever’s in store. Physically, too, the right foods are essential to give them a better start. Enjoy a multi-grain cereal or oatmeal to keep them full for the morning, include plenty of fruit for energy and vitamins and drink juice or water for rehydration after the night. However, keep serving sizes small; your children can ask for more if they’re still hungry.
Repeating this ritual every morning will give your kids a healthier start to the day; and it’s a habit they can continue long into adulthood.
2. Embrace the Great Outdoors
Another great habit to get your children into early on is exercising in nature. Whether it’s swimming at the beach on a Saturday morning, a family hike on a Sunday afternoon, or a game of football on a weekday evening, it’s important that your kids get as much fresh air as they can.
Because as they get older, they’re more likely to want to stay indoors with computer games or social media or whatever fascinating thing is on whatever screen they’re glued to. So take advantage of this boundless enthusiasm they have when they’re young. Let them play outside, foster their fascination with nature, and harness this energy towards exercise. They should really be doing some form of exercise for at least half an hour a day – so make a deal with them, no computer time until they’ve had a good runaround outside first!
3. Teach them about the importance of sleep
This is a tip that we adults could benefit a lot from, too! Because sleep is one of the most important factors in our health, our happiness, and our general wellbeing. Poor sleep impacts our relationships, our cognitive ability, our mood, our immune system and much, much more. So it’s pretty crucial that we get enough, good quality sleep on a regular basis.
But the strange thing is that, even though as a society we’ve never worked or played harder, and never needed more sleep, most of us still don’t get enough of it! So check how much sleep your children should be getting and do whatever you can to ensure they get it.
Get them into a pre-bedtime routine, create a relaxing bedroom environment, reward them for staying in bed until morning; whatever it takes to help your kids to develop healthy sleep habits. For specific sleep-related tips, go to the Sleep Advisor website, where you’ll find ways to help both you and your children sleep better every night.
Combine these good sleep habits with a healthy family breakfast each morning (plus a well-balanced diet in general), plus a generous helping of fresh air and exercise every day, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for very healthy kids!
Eat properly, exercise often and sleep well – all of the other things will seem easy(ish!) as a result.
This is a contributed post
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