5 Tips to Keep Your Children Healthy
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As a parent, the health and wellbeing of your children should be your number one priority. You want to keep your kids safe from danger and physical harm, but also protect them from poor health, illness, and harmful habits.
The habits formed in childhood often carry on into adulthood, so it’s essential you take steps to maintain healthy behaviors while they are young and impressionable. Children are exposed to multiple damaging stimuli every single day, and this only worsens as they get older. There are fast food adverts everywhere you look, germs spreading through the playground, and the enticing pull of social media and the Internet where all kinds of temptations and nasty things lie in wait.
If you want to make sure you prioritize the mental and physical health of your child, here are five tips to help you.
Limit screen time
One of the most damaging things for children’s health has only become an issue in the last couple of decades. Spending too much time staring at devices and using the Internet has a range of harmful health implications for young people.
When children spend too much time on their phones, it can lead to vision problems, obesity due to inactivity, and problems socializing with others. It has also been linked to impaired mental growth and cognitive function.
Although buying your child a phone might be necessary once they start going to school on their own and meeting up with friends, you should avoid the path that many parents take in using electronic devices as a method of keeping children occupied. You should try to limit their screen time as much as possible and instead, encouraging them to spend more time interacting with the real world and making memories.
Encourage wholesome hobbies
Before the era of smartphones, it was common for children to spend all day outside, playing games in the woods, and kicking a football around with their friends. But young people are becoming more sedentary than ever, spending increasing amounts of time with their devices.
From an early age, you should be encouraging more wholesome activities that allow them to engage with real people and the material world. Introduce them to a sport or other physical activity they can progress at and continue into adulthood. Things like soccer, dancing or running are great options. Participate in fun runs together or go for long hikes as a family. Steer their minds away from brain-sapping phones and instead buy them books and games that challenge their cognitive abilities.
Teach proper hand-washing
Schools are a hotbed of germs and infections, and when one child gets ill, it all too often spreads to the whole student population. Part of the problem is that many children are unfamiliar with the necessary measures to minimize the spread of infections. Parents should teach their little ones to wash their hands properly as a minimum and to do so before eating and after touching anything dirty.
Keep unhealthy snacks to a minimum
It’s easy enough to feed your children healthily at home by preparing nutritious meals. But when they’re at school or a friend’s house, it’s harder to keep their dietary habits under control. No child grows up hating vegetables; it’s an attitude that forms based on the influence of friends and family.
By ensuring they have a healthy diet full of fruit and veg, you should give them good food habits for life. Rather than giving them crisps and chocolate in their packed lunches, try making some healthy snacks such as these tasty oatmeal bars instead.
Although you want to limit their exposure to junk food, it’s important you don’t treat it as a taboo. That way, they may develop a craving for forbidden foods and develop junk food habits once they become old enough to make their own eating decisions. Instead, you should avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad” and allow them to enjoy less nutritious options as an occasional treat.
Also, limiting unhealthy snacks will keep their teeth and gums healthier for longer, seeing as the sugar won’t have such a negative impact if consumed in moderation. Speaking of oral health; it might also be a good idea to schedule an appointment at your local orthodontist once your child is old enough to be considered for braces. This will not only align their teeth but also improve their overall oral wellbeing as well, seeing as each tooth will have its own place and not cause any pressure or damage on the other.
Encourage their emotions
Many adults have trouble venting their emotions due to childhood habits. This can have disastrous impacts on their mental health. It’s important you look after your children’s emotional health by telling them it’s okay to show their feelings.
Encourage them to talk about what’s going on with them, and lead by example by talking about your own thoughts and feelings too. Openness, transparency, and honesty are highly important characteristics, and by instilling these attributes in them from a young age, they will grow to be emotionally healthy, well-rounded adults.
Keeping your children healthy doesn’t need to be hard work. By adopting these five habits, you will be setting your children up for a life of mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.