It is no easy task to raise a family; looking after your own health and well-being is not as daunting as having the responsibility of ensuring a healthy lifestyle for others dependent on you. Parents are always concerned about their children, anticipating their needs and watching out for them while maintaining some control.
A healthy lifestyle for children is much more than having the right eating habits. Children on their own cannot look after themselves, so it comes down to the parents to help their children stay fit. The habits developed in early childhood are likely to persist in life and continue later, so make sure to instill the right ones.
With that said, let’s highlight some useful tips to ensure a healthy lifestyle for children:
1. Make it a routine to get regular health checks
Starting from the beginning, regular health checks are a must if you want to catch and treat problems in time. Routine checks can identify current or imminent medical problems, look for risks for future issues, keep you up-to-date about vaccinations, and provide a healthy routine to follow.
To ensure your children adopt and accept this practice, set an example and make these visits a family practice. Regular health checks are necessary for young children, mainly because the impacts of birth injuries often manifest themselves a year or two after birth.
To detect these possibly life-altering health issues in time, regular health checks are a must. Go to www.childbirthinjuries.com to learn more about birth injuries and their symptoms.
2. Stay physically active
Today’s kids have very different hobbies from kids several years back. Electronics have almost completely replaced physical activity and outdoor play. It is easier to leave the kids with their favorite television show than to take them out to the park with their friends. However, such a sedentary lifestyle can have terrible long-term effects on them.
Ideally, a child should get at least 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity, including exciting activities like cycling, biking, hiking, or playing with other kids. To make it more conducive, make physical activity family time. Engage in activities collectively so that you can bond well as a family.
You would also have to limit time spent on television and video games simultaneously. Fortunately, once your kids experience the fun, they will likely start enjoying outdoor play more and automatically start using electronics less often.
3. Focus on proper hydration
The most critical component of your diet is water; most of your body is water. Water serves many functions, from lubricating joints and protecting sensitive tissue to facilitating excretion and regulating temperature. It is also a savior against health complications like kidney stones and constipation.
Help your kids make it a habit to drink water when thirsty, not any other beverage. Children older than eight should take at least 2 liters of water daily. The requirement may vary based on the climate and activity levels.
4. Exercise portion control
A common misconception is that since children need nutrition, they must be fed a good amount of food even if they don’t want to. Children don’t need as much as adults; don’t force-feed them when they feel full and refuse to eat anymore.
Many parents have used the ‘clean plate’ rule, which is counter-productive. Children eat based on their hunger and satiation. You might encourage them to overeat when you force them to eat all that is on their plate. Rewarding a clean plate with desserts is even worse, as this instills unhealthy habits. It is more important to control what they eat, not how much they eat.
Children are likely to eat more when they are eating unhealthy foods. Carbohydrate-rich foods and snacks rich in sugar and fat are likely to be taken in quantity more than is healthy. You can use online tools or consult your primary care provider to find the ideal portion size for your kids.
5. Never skip breakfast
The most important meal of the day is breakfast. It is the energizer kids need for a fresh day at school, and skipping breakfast lowers their focus, performance, and energy for the rest of the day. In fact, leaving breakfast also encourages overeating and unhealthy snacking during the day.
At the same time, eating the wrong kind of breakfast is equally harmful; eating only sugary desserts like pastries is a bad idea. They need the right amount of protein, grains, dairy products, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables in the morning.
When you don’t have time to prepare such a breakfast, giving your child yogurt, whole-grain cereal, trail mix, or whole-grain muffins is a good idea. Keep your fridge stocked with these ready-to-eat breakfast options so that no day goes without a healthy breakfast.
6. Become more involved in their lives
Psychological well-being is as important, if not more, than physical health. The best way to ensure that your children remain in good mental health is to provide them with the support of a loving family. Kids expect love and attention from their parents, and failure to achieve this leads to feelings of neglect, worthlessness, and isolation.
Be as involved in your kids’ lives as possible and make them feel cared for. Parental involvement in education, for instance, is the most critical factor in ensuring good school performance, better social skills, and regular attendance. Secure relationships with parents also promote a child’s emotional, social and cognitive development.
It helps them develop better emotional regulation and secure bonds and friendships. Therefore, validate their feelings, come together as a family at meal times, and give them enough attention.
It isn’t easy to be responsible for ensuring a healthy lifestyle for someone else in addition to yourself. Parents often feel overwhelmed with this responsibility, but it is usually not as big of a challenge if only you know what changes to make to your family lifestyle.
Make routine health checks a priority, keep your kids active, focus on hydration, don’t let them miss breakfast, and show them that you care. Together, these practices should help ensure your kids’ sound physical and mental health.