Raising a child isn’t easy. Not only are you busy taking care of them and of yourself, but the kids are busy too. Between soccer practice, parent-teacher conferences, your job, and keeping the home in tip-top shape, it seems that there’s no time left in the day. So, it’s no surprise that parents turn to unhealthy food options or let their kids stare at an iPad for a few hours. It’s easy and takes some weight off your shoulders.
With childhood obesity rates at an alarming high, there’s never been a better time to make keeping your child healthy a priority. The decisions you make with and for your children help them develop the habits that they will carry into their adult life, thus it’s important that they are used to making healthy choices.
Whether it feels like it or not, your children look up to you and make decisions based on your actions. It’s critical that you maintain a healthy lifestyle as a parent in order to set a good example for your children. The below list of health tips for children will help you and your family develop healthy habits that will lead to a healthy life.
Keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle is far more than simply having a clean diet. Developing healthy habits in all aspects of your child’s life will benefit both their physical and mental wellbeing. This list is broken down into health tips for children as well as tips to help adults along the way.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet
Developing healthy breakfast habits early on will go a long way for you and your child. Breakfast provides children with the energy boost that they need to get the day started, even if they don’t feel hungry.
Teach children to eat slowly. Eating too quickly leads to overeating. It takes the body around 20 minutes to realize when it is full. If your child is eating too quickly, they might develop a stomach ache well after they’ve stopped eating as their body realizes how full it is.
Help your child eat a well-rounded diet. Chances are you are doing 90% of the prep when it comes to what your child is eating. Providing your child with meals that include whole-grains, vegetables and a healthy serving of protein will mean that they develop a taste for such meals at an early age.
Make fruit a treat. Fruit is great and healthy for the most part but there’s a lot of sugar in fruit. Although it is natural sugar, which is far better than processed sugar, you still don’t want your kids to have too much. When children are young, their tooth enamel is weak and the sugar in fruit can break down weak enamel and lead to cavities. You can always rely on pediatric dentistry to help improve your child’s dental health, but keeping their teeth naturally healthy will be better for them as well as your wallet.
Another great diet tip is to serve small portions! This is one of the most important dietary health tips for children. The traditional American “clear plate policy” is part of the reason the obesity rate is so high. If you serve your children small portions and allow them to get seconds if they are still hungry, you make it far less likely that your children will develop a habit of overeating.
You should also eat small portions yourself. This and the previous health tips for children go hand-in-hand. If your child sees you eating big portions, they will want to eat big portions as well. This is a very typical way children try to emulate their parents.
Don’t use food as a reward system. Giving children food as a reward can lead to them developing unhealthy relationships with certain foods. These reward system foods are typically junk foods.
Cut out the butter and fried foods. Of course, this is not to say you have to eliminate butter or fried foods all together, just try to limit your child’s exposure at a young age in order to develop healthy habits. Fortunately, there are a lot of healthy options these days as this is one of the more common health tips for children with the obesity rate continues to rise.
Go for healthy frozen foods. Frozen foods get a bad wrap as most of them are either too greasy, fried, or calorically dense. However, as the nation turns towards a healthier lifestyle, we are seeing more and more healthy options in the frozen aisle. Sometimes you can’t beat the convenience of a frozen meal, but if you’re going to go that direction it’s important to search out healthy options.
Ordering healthy options when you go out to eat can set an amazing example for your children. Almost 70% of millennials say they love ordering healthy options at a restaurant, and as a parent that habit can go a long way. If your child sees you ordering a salad as an appetizer rather than fried jalapeno poppers, they will be more likely to do so themselves.
Encouraging an Active Lifestyle
Getting your children off the couch and into the playground can be the hardest part of this series of health tips for children. In the current digital age, children are plagued with constant interaction with technology which tends to keep kids inside.
Enrolling your child in team sports can help them develop a taste for some of the social practices that will serve them for their whole life. Cast a wide net, as children often need to try a few different sports before they find one that they truly love.
Keep your children social. This is one of the most helpful health tips for children to stay active. Young kids have a tendency to play more and move more when they’re with other kids. Whether that means school sports or finding a fun summer camp for kids outside of the school year, your children will be more likely to play with other kids their age.
Keeping in mind the above health tips for children, there are a few things you will want to as a parent. The exercise habits you keep as a parent will likely be imitated by your children in the future. So, if you don’t stay moving, chances are neither will they.
Going to the gym is a great habit. However, if your children are very young and don’t really understand what you are doing at the gym you may want to find a way to exercise with or in front of them. If your child is old enough, take them on short runs with you. They will want to keep up with you, and you can turn it into a game where you both see how far you can make it.
Join a sports league. If you were a soccer player as a young adult, it might be fun to join an adult league. Not only will it be fun for you to play a sport you love, but your children will also love to see you play and it just might make them want to play themselves when they see how much you enjoy it.
Being a positive role model for your kids when it comes to exercise is so important. Your children love you and they look up to you more than anyone in the world. So if you keep moving, so will they.
Keeping Your Children Safe
Now that you and your children have a good diet and are well on your way to developing healthy exercise habits, it’s your job to make sure they’re as physically safe as they can be. As a parent, it is your job to ensure that the healthcare needs of your family are covered to the best of your ability.
Look into health insurance options for you and your children. Establishing inclusive healthcare for your family is an absolute must, whether your job provides you with healthcare coverage or you need to invest in a public low-cost option such as the Child Health Plan Plus that is offered in Colorado.
Cover your bases for an emergency. This doesn’t mean rushing your child to the emergency room every time they have a bump or bruise. Being prepared for an emergency might simply means knowing where the nearest pediatric urgent care facility is. Urgent care is a great option for accidents like broken bones, concussions, and cuts that can’t be treated with a Band-Aid. The upfront cost at an urgent care facility is typically lower than the ER and the wait times for minor injuries are reduced significantly.
Stay up-to-date with technological healthcare advantages. While there are some downsides to the digital age, there are many conveniences that lead to great health tips for children. From interactive medical encyclopedias to virtual doctor visits, there are numerous options for you and your family when you can’t get yourself physically to the doctors.
Get the right equipment for your active children. Active children need certain pads and equipment to stay safe during physical activity. If your child loves riding bikes, they need a helmet. If they like rollerblading, they need wrist, knee, and elbow pads. The same goes for contact sports like hockey, lacrosse, and football. If your child is a tennis, soccer, or track star, it may be smart to see a pediatric foot treatment specialist and get some supportive insoles for their cleats or sneakers.
Ensuring Your Child’s Financial Safety
While most of the health tips for children on this list deal with the present, these few tips will help ensure your child’s financial safety in the future.
Make investments with your child in mind. Whether you’re investing in a property or in the stock market, if you allot a few of your investments to your child they will have savings before they even know it.
To ensure that your child doesn’t have to carry the burden of your medical bills in the future, you will want to enroll in Medicare as soon as you turn 65. Getting older means a that you’ll have a higher risk of health complications and you need to be prepared to take those on financially as well as physically.
Encouraging Psychological Health
Ensuring the mental health of you and your children is one of the most important steps to living a healthy lifestyle. Keeping an eye on the psychological health of you and your children is the final category in this list of health tips for children.
Luckily, today’s generation of parenting has a higher focus on mental health than it ever has in the past. Experts are producing more literature and performing more studies on childhood mental development every day.
If your child is going through a major change in their life, it’s a good idea to take them to see a mental health professional. This will allow them to talk with someone about thoughts or feelings that they’re having and may not want to talk to you about. When parents go through a divorce and have to work out child custody, for instance, it can be helpful for the kids to see a therapist. A child may be having complicated feelings surrounding the separation and their new living arrangements but may be hesitant to tell their parents if they can see how overwhelmed their parents are already.
Have your child see a professional, even if you don’t see anything wrong with their mental health. A good psychologist won’t prescribe your child any pills if they don’t need them, and they won’t diagnose your child with any conditions if there aren’t any present. However, it is still a good idea to have them see a professional just as a check-up.
Take advantage of your resources. If you’ve dealt with things like uncontrolled rage or depression in your past, purchase and read some literature on the subject. Chances are that if you haven’t gone through extensive therapy you are still dealing with those very complicated issues. The last thing you want as a parent is your child to be plagued with the same mental hardships as you.
See a professional yourself. As an adult, therapy is almost always a good thing. Even if you are a perfectly happy person, there is still going to be things in your life that bother you or get on your nerves. Talking to someone about these issues is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle.
By applying these tips to your family’s life, you can help ensure that your kids grow up physically, mentally, and financially healthy.