Raising kids could be a hectic endeavor. However, it is essential to remember the impact of our choices on our children’s health and well-being in the long run. Establishing healthy habits early on can set the stage for a lifetime of physical and mental wellness.
With some creativity, you can help your kids develop habits that will set them up for a healthy future. So, buckle up, and let’s explore some surefire ways to ensure a healthy lifestyle for your little ones:
1. Teach Hand-Washing
When kids play, they often touch different things and come into contact with germs. As a result, they could quickly spread those germs. By washing their hands properly, children keep several diseases at bay.
As a rule of thumb, kids must wash their hands after using the bathroom, blowing their nose, and before and after eating. This will reduce their risk of getting sick and help keep their friends and family healthy.
According to health experts, if hand-washing is not possible, using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol is the next best option to kill germs and stay healthy.
2. Focus On A Healthy Diet
Diet is the most significant component of a healthy lifestyle for all of us. Take the example of a pregnant woman. If you are pregnant and do not eat enough nutrients, it could prove to be one of the biggest risk factors for IUFD. When it comes to a child’s health and development, diet plays an equally crucial role.
Each colorful fruit or veggie children eat gives them a dose of essential vitamins and minerals crucial for growing bodies. If your child is picky, consider blending fruits and veggies in smoothies, dips, sauces, cakes, and ice creams. As children grow acquainted with these novel flavors, they gradually increase their consumption.
Moreover, keep your children from reaching out for those fizzy drinks. Instead, encourage them to drink the nectar of the gods – water! Milk is also a must for kids because it is packed with calcium, which helps keep their bones strong and healthy.
Remember when you were a kid and had to sit at the dinner table until you finished your broccoli, even if you were already full? Sadly, the empty-place policy does more harm than good. Forcing them to finish everything on their plate can lead to overeating and unwanted weight gain.
Therefore, you should pay attention to your kid’s indications for fullness and reassure them that they can stop eating when they feel full. And do not worry if they do not like certain foods at first.
Their taste buds might need some time to catch up. Like you, they might end up loving those same foods as they grow older!
3. Prioritize Sleep
Rapid physical and mental development in children necessitates ample rest for optimal health. Lack of sleep, even by 30-60 minutes, can hamper a child’s ability to focus and regulate emotions.
Creating a bedtime routine for your kids is an effective way to ensure they get proper rest. Younger children, in particular, benefit from a regular pre-bedtime routine that includes activities like a warm bath, storytime, and some quiet time before lights out.
For older kids, encourage them to disconnect from devices at least one hour before sleep and engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as meditation, journaling, or stretching.
In addition, creating a relaxing and restful atmosphere in the bedroom can have a significant impact. Keep the room cool, dark, and free of distractions like bright lights or tempting toys. If your child comes into your room in the middle of the night, try gently guiding them back to their own bed. If they need comfort, try walking with them or sitting by their bedside until they fall asleep.
Establishing these healthy sleep habits will help your kids feel well-rested and ready for a fun-filled day ahead!
4. Encourage Physical Activity
Physical activity is essential for the health of both children and adults. However, the CDC notes that just 50% of boys and less than 34% of girls aged 12 – 15 are physically fit. Inactivity might lead to a host of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, chronic illness, and even psychological disorders. And, to make matters worse, 80% of overweight children grow up to be obese adults, putting them at risk for colon, breast, and endometrial cancers.
The good news is that you can change the trend. For kids under 6, encourage them to enjoy simple physical activities like jumping, running, and skipping. And for kids between 6 and 17, aim for at least an hour of moderate to high-intensity exercise five days a week.
Grown-ups prefer working out with a buddy, and kids are no exception. Encourage your child to find a workout partner. One way to do that is by signing up for a youth sports team, like soccer or t-ball. Or, gather the neighborhood kids for an hour of outdoor play.
From chasing each other around the backyard to playing freeze tag, there are plenty of fun physical activities kids can do with their friends.
5. Limit Screen Time
Remember the good old days when you and your siblings would have couch camping sessions and argue over what show to watch on the family TV? Well, kids today have a whole new level of screen freedom!
They can watch multiple shows and carry their screens wherever they go. While the advancements in technology today are remarkable, overexposure to screens paves the way for several health issues. For example, the blue light emitted by electronic devices can interrupt our circadian rhythm, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
According to several well-documented reports, the rates of anxiety and depression among the young generation have increased dramatically. One of the biggest culprits behind this is the idealized lifestyles portrayed on social media.
To prevent these problems, parents must keep their children grounded in reality and encourage them to engage in activities outside of the digital world. By focusing on the joys of daily life and maintaining a connection to reality, we can help our children develop healthy, balanced perspectives and avoid the adverse outcomes of comparison.
When cutting down screen time for your children, you must be realistic. Reduce their current screen consumption by half instead of immediately attempting to get them to the suggested one to two hours or less per day.
As a parent, you play a significant role in shaping the habits of your little ones. You are their biggest influencer and can guide them toward developing a healthy lifestyle that will stay with them forever.
You will set the foundation for a lifetime of mental and physical well-being by instilling good habits when they are young.