The United States commemorates Child Health Day on the first Monday of every October. On this day, several child welfare agencies and other organizations work together to promote the significance of child health.
Unfortunately, despite numerous scientific, medical, and technological advancements, ensuring a healthy lifestyle for children is still a pipe dream for many parents. There is no denying that caring for a child is no easy feat.
But if you stick to the following science-backed guidelines, you will be making a massive difference in your kid’s overall well-being:
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1. Get Your Children Moving In A Fun Way
All that running, jumping, climbing, and playing makes it only natural for kids to progress to the next level of fitness: regular exercise. Children are pros when it comes to running around and dancing; they enjoy it.
As such, they are more likely to participate in physical activity if they perceive it as part of a game. So getting kids moving does not necessitate a membership to a fitness center. You can instead take them to a nearby park or playground.
Well-rounded fitness for kids involves stretching, strength, and endurance activities such as playing soccer, basketball, games of tag, and foot races. But you should not let their urge to play prevent them from taking safety measures.
Children are vulnerable to injury during play. Instruct your children to stretch and warm up to prepare for a game. On the other hand, if your child suffers from a medical condition, such as erb palsy, it would be best to consult a health professional before devising a fitness regimen.
Check-in with children frequently so they do not disregard indicators of injury. Also, have enough water on hand to stave off dehydration. Making exercise a family activity can also spark a lifelong passion for health and fitness in children.
2. Serve Veggies And Fruits
Vegetables and fruits comprise the bulk of a baby’s diet during the first few years. However, as years pass, kids grow up as picky eaters. As a result, many of them dislike healthy options like fruits and vegetables. Many parents use coercion to convince their children to eat more veggies and fruits. But this approach frequently falls short of the mark.
The best way to teach a child something is to set a good example. You need to include more plant-based foods in your daily diet. Depending on age and gender, your child should eat at least two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables daily for optimal nutrition.
Keep in mind that the human body cannot obtain all the nutrients it needs from a single fruit or vegetable. So a big tray of iceberg lettuce or a bowl of strawberries will not suffice. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is the only way to ensure your child receives all the necessary minerals and vitamins.
3. Establish An Early Bedtime Ritual
According to comprehensive research, sleeping before midnight results in restful sleep. A good night’s sleep consists of a series of deep and light sleep cycles. But deep sleep cycles last the longest early in the night. During these phases, our brains carry out critical processes like cell replacement, muscle repair, and the release of growth hormones.
For example, compared to kids who go to bed at 7:00 p.m., kids who stay up later than that can obtain the same amount of sleep each night, but they will have far less time to indulge in restorative slumber. Therefore, ensuring that your children get sufficient hours of high-quality sleep requires you to put them to bed earlier.
A typical bedtime ritual for children includes three or four tasks: eating a snack, brushing their teeth, slipping into pajamas, and reading a book. It is essential to complete these tasks in the same sequence every day. In the hours leading up to bedtime, begin winding down the household by shutting off the lights. This will help the routine be even more effective.
4. Reduce Screen Time
Did you and your siblings regularly set up camp on the couch and argue over who got to choose the evening’s television viewing? Well, this generation of children has far more freedom when operating electronic devices.
Despite the ubiquitous nature of screens in modern life, cutting back on screen time has been linked to numerous health benefits, such as better physical fitness and more time for creative play and discovery.
One way to reduce screen time is to establish family rules. When establishing house rules on electronic media use, it is best to get everyone’s input. Your regulations should have some leeway for weekdays, weekends, and special occasions. The rules should be flexible enough to accommodate your child’s evolving requirements as they age.
After every few months or when you bring a new device into your home, reviewing the rules is a good idea. By doing so, you can ensure that they accommodate the requirements of all parties.
Let your kids know why you are limiting their screen time. Your kids will be far more likely to follow the rules you set if they understand that there are adverse outcomes to excessive screen use. On the other hand, when children perceive their parents as “being cruel,” they may be more prone to rebel against or disobey the rules you are attempting to instill.
Give your child an age-appropriate explanation of the adverse effects of violent media. For example, talk to your kids about the risks of cyberbullying and other forms of abuse they may encounter if they overindulge in the virtual world.
It is never too early to start doing what you can to prepare for parenthood. When parents prioritize health, their children are more likely to thrive and enjoy a long, fulfilling life. We hope this article provided helpful advice and guidelines for getting started in that direction. Please let us know in the comments box below if we missed something.