All parents want their kids to be happy, healthy individuals. One of the main concerns of new parents is how to protect their children and keep them safe and well. Establishing healthy habits from a young age is one of the best ways you can ensure your family’s health and well-being.
All children are different. They grow and develop in different ways, and it is important to support this. Regular checkups with your child’s doctor will help monitor each developmental stage and flag up any problems. If anything is a cause for concern, this can be flagged early, and steps can be put in place to assist your child. For example, if your child suffers from hearing loss, he or she may initially display few signs of this. If undetected, hearing loss can lead to problems with language and communication. An Audiologist can test your child’s hearing and rule out any problems. If necessary, they can put steps in place to support your child’s learning and development.
Your doctor can also ensure your child is vaccinated, to prevent serious childhood diseases. As well as medical checks, it is also important that children visit a dentist regularly as soon as their first milk teeth appear. This will get them used to the environment and the procedures. The dentist will prevent tooth decay and identify any oral health issues.
It seems that children have a never ending supply of energy, particularly when bedtime comes around. Many parents make the mistake of believing their children need less sleep because they don’t want to go to bed. However, this is not the case. If introduced to a sleep routine their bodies will adjust and they will sleep for longer. Make sure your child gets enough sleep for their age. There are a few strategies you can put in place to help with bedtimes.
- Help your child to wind down at least an hour before they are due to go to bed. This time should be spent relaxing or playing quietly.
- Establish a routine and stick to it. For example, if children are bathed before bed, keep to strict timings. Let them know exactly what will happen next.
- Reading to you children when they’re in bed, helps them to power down and get ready to go to sleep.
- Lights off should occur at the same time each night.
- Ensure your child’s sleeping environment is conducive to a good night’s sleep. This includes comfortable bedding and an adequate mattress. Temperature and light are also important factors.
Sleep is essential for your child’s development. Children who get enough sleep each night tend to perform better at school than those who don’t. Sleep is also necessary for learning, development, and to strengthen the immune system and fight off disease.
Teach And Model Healthy Habits
There’s no point in teaching your children healthy habits if you don’t model them yourself. Children learn by example. Establish healthy routines for the whole family and ensure everyone keeps to them.
- Insist on regular hand washing, especially before mealtimes. Demonstrate how this should be completed effectively and make it fun.
- Help your child to clean their teeth as soon as their milk teeth appear. They will need to be supervised for the first few years until this can be managed alone. Explain to them the importance of healthy teeth and a healthy mouth.
- Regular washing and bathing should become part of their routine.
A Healthy Diet
Developing a healthy relationship with food will stand your children in good stead throughout their lives. A balanced and nutritious diet will keep them stay fit and well and help ensure they maintain a healthy weight. Explain the importance of a healthy diet to your children and let them learn about nutrition. It’s fine for them to have treats every once in a while, but make sure they are given in moderation.
Make Exercise Fun
Children and adults exercise if they enjoy the activity. So, make it as fun as possible. Rather than seeing it as a chore, label it as playing. There are lots of ways you can ensure your kids get enough exercise.
- Set up family activities such as walks, trips to the beach or woods, camping, cycling, etc.
- Encourage children to spend time out of doors, weather permitting
- Get them interested in gardening and growing their own fruit and veg
- Buy toys and games that can be played out of doors
- Limit screen time
- Encourage kids to join after-school sports clubs
As much as we’d like to, we can’t wrap our children in bubble wrap. All we can do is teach them well and encourage healthy habits and ways of living from a young age. These are the strategies that will keep them safe and provide them with the tools they need to navigate adulthood.
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