Raising a family is a challenging feat. Don’t you know it! Despite our best efforts, our kids are exposed to germs and toxins daily, not to mention the various pressures from peers and media they will experience as they grow.
As parents, we are responsible for teaching them how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Start when they are still young, so they can avoid making poor decisions and acquire good and healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
To effectively do this, here are ten ways to start your kids’ journey to healthy living.
Healthy Eating Practices
Your child’s health can benefit from a balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as enough water each day. A balanced breakfast that includes protein, dairy, and whole grains increases your child’s capacity for concentration and improves behavior throughout the day.
On the other hand, a healthy lunch and dinner consist of lean meats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. When packing food for school, you must also consider easy-to-prepare kid food such as green powder smoothies or ready-to-eat cereal.
Family meals together encourage improved health and well-being. It can enhance family connection, mental performance, assist digestion, avoid exhaustion, elevate mood, and maintain weight.
Avoid Soda and Sweetened Drinks
Children who consume beverages with added sugar consume 200 more calories per day. And it’s not just soda; all sweet drinks, such as fruit juice, energy drinks, sweet tea, lemonade, and flavored milks are included. These all contain added sugar and increase the likelihood of your child becoming obese.
Promote drinking water and plain milk as healthful options. Reduce or stop consuming soda and beverages with added sugar. Caffeine can increase jitteriness and irritability in children, as well as heart rate and blood pressure, interrupt sleep, and cause anxiety.
Lessen Eating Out
While dining out sometimes is acceptable, doing so frequently could normalize unhealthy food choices and excessive portions for your children. According to professionals, kids who eat most of their meals at home are more likely to consume fruit and vegetables than kids who frequently dine at restaurants.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare meals at home. Planning and keeping the appropriate meals on hand can both be beneficial. It’s also much easier to stick to a family budget and can be a great way to get kids involved in cooking and preparing food as they get older.
Control Portion Size
Children don’t need to eat as much as adults, but how much food they require depends on their age, gender, and degree of activity. A two-year-old, for instance, requires a different portion size than a seven-year-old, and a seven-year-old, as compared to a fifteen-year-old.
When they eat less healthy food, or snack frequently, children tend to consume more calories. Children may eat more unhealthy foods to feel satisfied since simple carbohydrates don’t give the same sensation of fullness as a healthy serving of nutritious foods like meat, fruits and vegetables.
It’s also important to stick to a meal routine, so your children can adopt them as habits. The predictability of having a regular schedule for meals makes children secure, according to professionals.
Get Proper Sleep
Your child needs a consistent bedtime routine for their well-being. Children in kindergarten through sixth grade should get nine to eleven hours of sleep per night. Sleep quality is closely tied to behavior, eating habits, and the body’s ability to fight off infections. Lack of sleep increases the desire for junk food, commonly resulting in mood swings, tantrums, and an increased risk of sickness.
Encourage Playing Outside
Professionals urge parents to encourage their children to play safely outside to increase physical exercise. It might be any activity, such as hiking, riding with the family, or something as easy as going out. Kids should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and splitting that time into shorter segments of 10, 15, or 20 minutes can be beneficial. Allowing children to play outside, particularly with other kids, teaches them about sharing, collaboration, taking turns, listening, adhering to rules, and independence.
Reduce Screen Time
Kids shouldn’t use phones, televisions, tablets, video games, and laptops for more than two hours each day. Screen light can affect melatonin levels, which throws off the body’s circadian rhythm and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
Wash Hands Frequently
Frequently wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs. Teach your child to sing “happy birthday” twice (for around 20 seconds) while washing their hands. When hand washing is not an option, make sure your child has hand sanitizer on hand. Teach them to sneeze or cough into their elbow and keep their hands away from their faces.
Let Your Kids Use Proper Backpacks
Heavy backpacks can cause pain in the back, shoulders, and neck. Give each of your children a sturdy backpack bag with two straps and padding. Check for fit – smaller children need smaller backpacks. The weight of a fully loaded backpack should be at most 10% of your child’s body weight.
Assist Your Children in Overcoming Anxiety and Stress
Your child may experience stress and worry due to friendship changes, social media, sports, and school. To detect bullying or other forms of stress or anxiety at school, keep the lines of communication open and watch how they use social media.
Kids look up to their parents. That’s why you must lead by example. Give your children choices to engage them because being healthy should be fun! Reward them for their behavior with fun activities or healthy treats. By remaining upbeat and encouraging, you can assist them in acquiring self-assurance and lifelong healthy habits.
Katie Pierce is a teacher-slash-writer who loves telling stories to an audience, whether it’s bored adults in front of a computer screen or a bunch of hyperactive 4-year-olds. Writing keeps her sane (most of the time) and allows her to enjoy some quiet time in the evening before she walks into a room of screaming kids (all of whom she loves dearly) the next morning.