As parents, we want our children to grow up as the best version of themselves. This means ensuring they adopt a healthy lifestyle.
And the most influential person in a child’s journey to health is — you. You are the first and best resource for modeling a healthy lifestyle for your children.
If you are looking to nudge your children toward a healthier lifestyle, here are a few super useful tips to help you out.
Grow your own food
Want to get your children excited about eating veggies? Start growing your own food.
It doesn’t have to be a big, outdoor set-up. You can simply plant some kale or carrots in a bucket somewhere in your home to intrigue your little eater to take a bite of that veggie.
If you’re thinking about an outdoor garden, you can invite your child to help plant it and put them in charge of its care. This will spark their curiosity (and might instill a lifelong love of vegetables in them).
Get them excited about physical activity
Children love to play from a young age. As they get older, however, they discover more effortless ways to entertain themselves.
What started as foursquare in the driveway with the neighborhood kids might turn into evenings playing on Xbox live together. So you must encourage your children to go outdoors as much as possible. Prolonged periods of inactivity are more harmful for the body than you’d expect.
It’s also a good idea to lead by example when it comes to physical activity. Go for family walks, let out some steam at the park, or commit to a weekly game of basketball in the backyard — do whatever it takes to get the whole family outside.
Protect their skin from the sun
Summers are for kids, but the summer sun isn’t. That’s because excessive exposure to sunlight is the number one risk factor for skin cancer.
So make sure to help your children develop the habit of applying sunscreen daily. Try to go with one that has an SPF of 30 or greater (and make sure your kids reapply it every 2 hours when outside).
Unfortunately, the risk of sunscreen side effects — such as a rash — is high in babies under 6 months of age. In this case, you must focus on keeping them in shade as often as possible.
Read aloud to your children
Whether you’re reading classic novels or fairy tales before bed, reading aloud to children can significantly benefit their life.
For starters, it improves their cognitive skills and helps the process of cognitive development.
Secondly, it can help with language acquisition and communication, social, and literacy skills.
More importantly, it prepares them for the different environments they will experience (such as school) in the future. It helps them grow their vocabulary and develop good listening skills, which is helpful during all stages of academic life.
Pay attention to their smile
You’ll be surprised to know that tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases.
Poor dental health can result in a myriad of problems. Not only do cavities cause discomfort and pain, but they can also lead to problems with speaking, eating, and learning.
Start by getting your children to brush their teeth with fluoride-containing toothpaste twice daily.
Additionally, make sure they receive a fluoride treatment at each dental cleaning, which typically happens every 6 months.
Remember, attractive teeth are an essential social tool and might help your child ace important social interactions in the future.
Ensure their emotional well-being
Mental health is as important as physical health.
Many mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, begin in early childhood, which is why you should do the following things:
- Talk to them about their feelings — this can help your child understand their feelings and those of others, which helps them develop empathy.
- Avoid negativity — raising a child can sometimes be incredibly frustrating. Nevertheless, you should try to avoid negative remarks like sarcastic comments, personal attacks, or threats.
- Boost their self-esteem. Praise your child when they reach a new milestone or experience an achievement at school. Let them know that their academic successes or failures don’t define them and that you’re always on their side.
- Be encouraging. Always encourage your child to do their best. Additionally, show support when they express an interest in a new activity.
Limit their screen time
TVs, smartphones, tablets are an inevitable part of childhood. But it’s important to prevent screen time from getting excessive.
It will harm your child’s ability to focus, concentrate, and communicate — which can set them up for failure.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, screens should be completely avoided before age 2. Children between 2 and 5 years should limit screen use to 1 hour per day. For children older than 5, it’s a good idea to create a family media plan with time limits and rules.