Part of our responsibility as a parent is to teach our children how to lead healthy lives. The best time to start teaching these lessons is when they are still young, as that helps them avoid making unhealthy choices and developing lifelong bad habits.
It is important that parents set a good example, and your kids need to see you choosing healthy habits too.
A school is a place where kids learn and grow cognitively, develop social skills, and become independent individuals. Unfortunately, it can also be a place where they can pick up germs and illnesses and bring them home.
At school, children spend a lot of time in classrooms where they can easily transfer infections to one another, but by teaching your kids some important healthy habits, parents can help make school and health a priority.
Nutrition And Physical Activity
These days, children weigh more than they used to, mainly because, they eat too much food that is high in fat and sugar. They spend less time being physically active and struggle with weight.
Thus, they have an increased risk of future health problems that can include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancer.
Healthy Food And Its Benefit To Kids
Healthy eating can help children maintain a healthy weight, and avoid certain health problems. It can help stabilize their energy and sharpen their minds.
A healthy diet can also have a profound effect on a child’s sense of mental and emotional wellbeing and can help prevent conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, etc…
For children that have already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, a healthy diet can help them to manage the symptoms and reclaim control of their health.
Our kids aren’t born with a craving for French fries and pizza or distaste to broccoli and carrots. This conditioning happens over time as kids are exposed to unhealthier food choices.
However, it is not late to reprogram your children’s food cravings so that they crave healthier foods instead. The sooner you introduce wholesome, nutritious food choices into your kids’ diets, the easier they’ll be able to develop a healthy relationship with food. And that relationship can last them a lifetime.
As a Parent, You Can Do The Following to Help:
- Pay attention to the kinds of food you buy, and limit the amount of junk food you give to your kids eat.
- Keep a mix of fresh fruits and vegetables available, to make for healthy snacks and meal sides. Be aware that low-fat foods may contain unhealthy items, like added sugar.
- Serve a variety of healthy foods and use proper serving portion sizes.
- Read the nutrition facts label to find a serving size.
- Eat meals and snacks together as a family, and eat at the table, not in front of the television.
- Give your children plenty of water and milk to drink, and put a limit on sweetened and regular-calorie drinks.
- Monitor your children’s activities, and they should spend no more than 2 hours per day watching television, using the computer, or playing video games.
- Promote physical activity for your kids, and make physical activity part of your family’s routine (Take a walk, visit the community pool, or go on a bike ride).
- Also, encourage your kids to try group activities, such as team sports or martial arts, as these activities can help a child’s growth and self-esteem.
- Also, teach your children healthy oral health habits that include brushing their teeth twice per day and flossing once per day. Don’t forget to take them to the dentist for regular cleanings every six months.
- Most importantly, Limit sugar and refined carbs in your child’s diet. Refined carbohydrates are sugars and refined grains that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. They include white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, and many breakfast kinds of cereal. They cause dangerous spikes in blood sugar and fluctuations in mood and energy.
A child’s body gets all the sugar it needs from naturally occurring in food, and added sugar just means a lot of empty calories that contribute to hyperactivity, mood disorders, and increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even suicidal behaviors.
More Tips On How to Make Your Kids Healthy
- Don’t ignore weight problems, as children who are substantially overweight are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, bone, and joint problems, sleep apnea, poor self-esteem, and long-term health problems later in life. Addressing weight problems in children requires a harmonized strategy of physical activity and healthy nutrition.
- Teach Your Child about Proper Hand Washing, which is one of the most important ways we can prevent the spread of illness in the classroom and elsewhere. Teaching your child how to wash her hands properly, and to especially wash after blowing her nose, using the bathroom and before eating.
- Set Good Sleep Habits, and make sure your child gets enough sleep. This is a crucial part of keeping him healthy, as proper sleep is important not only for a child’s physical and emotional health but it can play an important role in how well he does in school.
- Be on the Lookout for Anxiety or Stress in Your kid. Kids can face a lot of stressful situations every day, ranging from homework, tests, social pressures, etc. Research shows that stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on kids’ health, and it is your job to spot the symptoms of stress in your child and find ways to manage his anxiety.
- Kids may become curious about tobacco and drugs at a young age. In fact, some children try tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs by the time they reach middle school, and studies have shown that kids are less likely to use these if you talk to them early on. Make it known that your kids are not allowed to smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco, drink alcohol, or use drugs, and set clear consequences if they break these rules. Don’t forget to explain why these substances are harmful.
- Sexual behavior: Each year, about 1 million teenage girls become pregnant, and nearly 3 million teens get a sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD or STI). Even though it may be awkward, you need to talk to your kids about the risks and responsibilities of being sexually active, and that includes how to protect against pregnancy and disease. You can teach them the meaning of consent, and they should understand the importance of consent by both people involved.
- Finally, Learn about Head Lice Prevention, Symptoms, and Treatment, because, head lice is a common problem among school-age kids.