As your children’s primary caregiver, you’ve got a heavy role and responsibility to play in ensuring that they stay healthy. It’s all the more crucial to have a fit body, especially with the current coronavirus situation. The only way that you can protect your kids from the challenging pandemic and other diseases, for that matter, is by building up their health and their immune system.
As parents, it’s normal to want the best for your kids. When it comes to their health, there’s no room for second-guessing. While this is a universal goal, it also doesn’t mean that the road to achieving this is straightforward. Even the most seasoned of all parents aren’t perfect, and everyone can use a reminder or two on how to manage your children’s health effectively.
That said, here are some of the best tips you can apply in your pursuit of being more proactive about managing your children’s health:
1. Develop Healthy Eating Habits Early On
Children aren’t as complicated as they may seem. In fact, these little people are creatures of habit. As you’ve gone through parenting, perhaps you’ve learned by now that setting routines is a good way to build disciplines, such as by developing healthy sleeping and study habits. The same holds true for eating.
Early on, it’s crucial to establish good and healthy eating habits. This means exposing your children to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables when they’re young so that, as they grow up, their taste buds become accustomed to culinary variety. It becomes their nature to prefer healthier options over junk food, perhaps even when other kids around them may be munching on chips.
To help children develop healthy eating habits, it’s your responsibility to:
- Limit the offer and intake of sugar and saturated fat.
- Offer a lot of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products every day.
- Reduce, or avoid sugary drinks early on – make your own juice instead and offer water as their beverage of choice.
Each child may also have their respective dietary restrictions, so it’s important to work with trusted medical professionals or a doctor from Shelly Family Medical Center, to have that hundred percent certainty that you’re feeding your child as they should.
2. Be A Role Model
Children naturally are inclined to think of their parents as their first role model. So, it’s up to you to grab this honor as an opportunity to show good behavior and practices.
Among all others, this pursuit should also include modeling healthy practices at home. The more you do something, the more inclined children are in following it, simply because mom and dad are doing it.
For instance, if you spent the entire day munching on a whole pizza binge-watching movies, it’s highly likely that your kids will do the same. Rather than developing this unpleasant practice at home, you should get up, move, and show your kids how fun it is to be physically active.
You don’t necessarily have to be the master of fitness for you to model this to your children. Even a good outdoor play with them can encourage your kids to get out and move rather than stay indoors and stay glued to the screen.
3. Limit Sugar as a Reward
Every household has its own rules, that’s for sure. But, when it comes to offering sweets, it’s a good idea to offer them instead as a reward on the weekends.
For example, you can make it a family trip to the supermarket after classes on a Friday where the kids can choose treats for the weekend, as a reward for a good week of school. That way, you’ve got more control over these sugary foods, and your children won’t have an opportunity to have them every day.
4. Teach Your Kids to Wash Hands
In this time and season of the pandemic, another very simple habit that has long been overlooked but now is given much priority again is teaching the proper way of washing hands.
Even when your kids are just at home, make it a point that you’re able to show them how proper handwashing is done. That way, when homeschooling is over and the physical schools start to open again, you can rest assured that your child is washing their hands regularly.
Frequent handwashing is one of the most effective ways to ward off the spread of diseases. But, for children who weren’t taught this sanitary practice early on, it’s not second nature to them. In fact, it becomes almost impossible to get them to stop what they’re playing with or eating and wash their hands first.
If your children start to go back to school, be sure that you also have alcohol and sanitizer always in their school bag.
5. Talk About Being Healthy
It’s important to have that conversation as to why it’s so important to be healthy at home. Because if you, their parents, don’t talk about this and no one else does, then who will?
This open conversation is very important so that your children will understand that all the rules you’ve set in place are for your own good. It’s because you love them so much that you want them to stay healthy. That way, even when they aren’t under your watchful eyes, they still remember and respect your rules.
For instance, your kids may only be allowed sweets on weekends. However, their cousins may be allowed to have it anytime they so please or ask for it. If you don’t explain this difference as to why you don’t allow them to have sweets always, they may only end up loathing you.
When children understand why it’s so important to stay healthy, there’s a higher likelihood that they’ll continue to practice the healthy choices you’ve instilled in them when they’re younger, even when they’re young adults and already on their own.
6. Reduce Sedentary Time
Sedentary time refers to that timeframe when your child isn’t doing anything active and is merely sitting down. While this is understandable during school hours when they’re learning or doing homework, sedentary time because they prefer to watch TV or play with their gadgets is wrong.
Not only is this bad for their health, but it can also hamper the development of very young children. The last thing you’ll want is to have an unhealthy or developmentally delayed child because of the wrong choices you made with taking it the easy way out through offering screen time more.
Be guided by the proper screen time guidelines, depending on your children’s age. Follow the limits so that sedentary time is also reduced. That way, you can encourage your kids to spend more time outdoors to play than to prefer and get used to the habit of watching TV all the time.
7. Teach Your Children the Proper Use of Face Masks
Another very timely tip today with this pandemic when managing your children’s health is to make them understand why it’s important to wear face masks. And, make sure that they also know how to wear it properly. This is all the more important for young kids, particularly when they’ll be off to their pre-school.
When your kids are just at home or even when they’re out and about with you, it’s not so much of a problem because you’re there to check on them all the time. But, once they resume physical classes again, you can’t just keep peeping in all the time to make sure that they’re wearing their masks when it’s required.
It’s going to be hard for the first couple of days to get your children to wear a mask. But, with consistent practice, this will eventually become a well-embedded habit for them.
8. Practice Strict Naps and Bedtimes
If adults need sleep to function efficiently, it’s all the more crucial for young children. Another common mistake by many parents is that keeping their young children awake and alert during day time will make it easier for them to fall asleep at night. Or, there are also those parents who let their kids sleep at the same hour as them, which is very late at night.
These aren’t good practices. Kids need more sleep than adults do in general, simply because they’re still developing and growing. Getting adequate sleep is very important for kids to develop not just physically but even mentally and emotionally as well. You wouldn’t want to be that parent with a tired kid at school the next day because your child isn’t well-rested.
9. Cover Coughs and Sneezes
When your kids are sick, of course, the better option is to keep them at home. But, if they absolutely need to go out, then it’s your responsibility to teach them to cover their mouth whenever they cough and sneeze.
Imagine all the droplets of bacteria, germs, and viruses that can pass on from one child to another because of that one kid who didn’t practice this simple technique.
When other children see this kind of example, they tend to follow it too. Hence, you can be confident that the peers your kids are surrounded by practice this good sanitary technique.
No parent is and will ever be perfect. Nonetheless, the tips above can bring you towards becoming a better one. Above all the facets in your child’s life that you’ll protect and nurture, the most important is their health. After all, it’s just but normal for parents to want to see their kids grow old and enjoy life to the fullest. Everything else in their life, like success, happiness, and stability, follows suit after good health. Especially now that the pandemic is still in place, it’s not too late to reinforce these techniques so you can get a better grip on handling your children’s health.