Raising children isn’t always easy. It’s obvious that parents have a lot of things to do but it always seems there isn’t enough time to do them. But the stakes are high especially when it comes to both the physical and mental well-being of children. Many parents are worried about their kids’ health and rightly so. After all, a child’s health is the foundation of all growth and development.
Looking after a child’s health is no easy task but there are impactful ways parents can improve the health of their children. These ways can do more than just improve your child’s health as you also get to set good examples. And, since children are always imitating their parents, creating healthy habits early on is always beneficial.
Below are 6 ways parents can improve their child’s health:
1. Serve them fruits and vegetables
While children generally prefer sweet-tasting food and may not be eager to eat vegetables or fruits, it’s important to encourage them to eat their greens. Fruits and vegetables are very important to your child’s growth and development as they contain immune-boosting nutrients that can prevent diseases now and in the future. Vegetables and fruits rich in fibre promote the functioning of the digestive system and prevent constipation.
Children that consume fruits and vegetables on a regular basis have a lower risk of becoming obese and their energy levels will be higher. Also, some fruits improve health by removing toxins from the body. While your child may have a preference for certain fruits or vegetables, it’s important to serve them a variety of vegetables and fruits so they can benefit from as many nutrients as possible.
2. Exercise as a family
Children need exercise just like adults. The only difference is in the intensity of the exercise. Children between 3 – 5 years old need to be physically active through most of the day. Chances are your child is already meeting the required physical activity levels but parents should also try to engage them and keep them active. You’ll find easy and enjoyable ways to engage your child as time goes on.
Children more than 6 years old require a more intense level of physical activity and an hour of running, jumping, and climbing three weeks a day is enough. Regular exercise improves the cardiovascular health of your child as well as their immunity.
3. Keep kids home when they are sick
Keeping children at home when they are sick is important for their well-being as a few days of rest will significantly increase the chances of a speedy recovery. Sending sick children to school could lead to them spreading an infection or even catching a secondary infection.
Speak with your pharmacist or doctor when your child is sick and encourage them to use their medications. Getting kids to use drugs can be difficult at times due to the palatability of the drugs. Sometimes, the desired form of the prescribed drug isn’t available. In any of these cases, pediatric compounding pharmacy will help you out to make medication more palatable for your child to improve adherence.
4. Set an early bedtime
Children between 5 to 12 years old need between 9 to 12 hours of sleep. However, most children get only about 7 to 8 hours of sleep which is far from enough. Sleep deprivation has negative effects on children and could affect cognitive function thereby leading to concentration difficulties and a drop in school performance. Sleep-deprived children can also suffer from mood swings and reduced immune function.
The best way to ensure kids are getting enough sleep is to send them to bed early. This is especially important on school days so your child wakes up alert and well-rested in the morning.
5. Encourage handwashing
Proper hand hygiene is important for children’s health and even now more than ever with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Handwashing has been shown to prevent the spread of germs and diseases. And teaching a child how to properly wash their hands early on is a good way to encourage a lifelong habit.
Try to make handwashing fun for children by having them sing or count as they wash their hands. Using soaps that smell nice can also encourage children to wash their hands regularly.
6. Dental hygiene is important
Your child’s dental hygiene should be taken seriously as it affects his/her overall health. Healthy teeth help kids eat and talk and inadequate dental hygiene can cause different problems like cavities which are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. Poor dental hygiene can also cause diseases and infections.
You can encourage kids to properly take care of their teeth by teaching them how to brush their teeth. Also, let them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste while also rewarding them for good oral care.