As a parent, your child’s health and safety are of utmost important. Often, your mind is consumed with ensuring they have everything they need in order to live safe, happy, and productive lives. Basic necessities include things like clothes on their back, a roof over their heads, and food in their belly. But outside of these basic needs, there are other ways that you can guarantee your child develops in a healthy and safe way. And here are just a few.
Keep Them Active
Just like in adults, physical activity is an important part of a child’s growth and development. Depending on their age, a child should get anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This isn’t always easy, especially when children are in school all day or if you live in a place where the winter months are cold and unforgiving. But it’s important to promote physical activity regardless of the environment. One of the best ways to do this is by signing your child up for a recreational sport. Most towns and schools systems offer organized sports in both the fall and spring seasons. Sign your child up for soccer, basketball, football, or baseball. Ask them what they’d like to do and capitalize on their interests. There are plenty of activities outside of sports as well like gymnastics, hiking, and swimming. Get creative with getting your child off the couch and moving. Encourage them to take the family dog for a walk or visit the park. Even doing yoga in your living room is an excellent way to keep a child’s body and mind healthy.
Routine Doctor’s Visits
Keeping your child healthy means avoiding the doctor’s office. But not when it comes to routine check-ups and appointments. You likely remember when your child was first born and you frequented the pediatrician’s office almost weekly. During the first few months of life, the doctor monitors your baby’s growth and development. Most infants experience a 5% weight loss after birth. This is completely normal and will gradually increase with time. But it’s important for your doctor to monitor this progress. Your infant will also receive several vaccinations starting from their initial visit up until they’re approximately 6 years of age. Most pediatricians follow the same schedule in terms of vaccinations, but it may vary based on location. These vaccines help protect your little one from very serious illnesses including polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria. All children under the age of 5 are strongly encouraged to receive the flu shot. But even after your child’s necessary vaccinations are over, it doesn’t mean you should neglect taking them for routine check-ups. Your child should have a well-visit annually. During this visit the doctor will check their growth (height and weight), eyes, ears, and discuss any additional questions or concerns you might have regarding their development. It’s during this time that any issues are addressed and an action plan is created.
Teach Them Proper Hygiene
Proper hygiene is a child’s first line of defense against spreading and contracting germs and bacteria. While you can’t control other people’s actions, you can help keep your child safe and healthy by practicing good hygiene regularly. This includes things like properly washing their hands before and after eating, covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and bathing regularly. Properly washing hands is one of the best ways for children to keep free of germs and bacteria, especially in younger children who have a tendency to put their hands in and near their mouth and face. Your child should also brush their teeth twice a day and limit their consumption of sugary snacks. It’s also recommended that both children and adults see a dentist at least once a year for a cleaning and check-up. Children are encouraged to see a dentist after all of their teeth come in or at approximately age 3. Of course, if you suspect a complication or have a question about your child’s teeth or dental hygiene, you should call your dentist immediately. Learn more here about signs that a dentist visit is in order.
Pack Their Snacks and Lunch
Healthy and nutritionally rich meals go hand-in-hand with physical activity in terms of keeping your child healthy. It can be tricky to get your kids to eat foods that are good for them. They likely shy away from anything green. But it’s important that your child gets the recommended dosage of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and dairy each day. Their bodies are growing at a rapid pace and need nourishment regularly. But providing them the right nourishment is key. While it’s okay to indulge once in a while in sweet treats or fast food, their main diet should consist of whole grains, lean meats and proteins, yogurt, milk, cheese, and fresh fruits and vegetables. You can help promote this in a variety of ways including modeling proper nutrition, getting creative with their meals, and allowing them to choose menu items and help you do the shopping. The more involved kids are in the process, the more likely they are to stay on track and succeed. Simply cutting their foods into fun and easy to grab shapes can make snack time more fun and interesting. And most foods your child loves can easily be substituted with healthier options. Chances are, they won’t even notice the difference!
Promote Healthy Sleep Habits
Sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to promoting healthy development in your child. So much happens inside your child’s body while they’re resting. It gives both their mind and bodies time to recover and develop. You probably remember your infant sleeping for a majority of the day. That’s because their bodies are growing and developing at a rapid pace, which is exhausting! Toddlers should get anywhere between 11 and 14 hours of sleep each night. As a child grows older, they need less sleep but it’s still more than what’s recommended for a grown adult. School age kids need between 10 and 12 hours of sleep each night and even teenagers should get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep. Promoting healthy sleep habits will also improve your child’s performance in school. Setting a bedtime, limiting electronics before sleep, and creating a quiet environment are all perfect ways to ensure your growing child gets adequate rest.
A final note
Health for a child is more about their overall well-being than simply their weight and a strong immune system. While these factors are also important parts of development, it’s important to foster healthy habits for the whole child which means teaching them proper hygiene, good sleep habits, and fun ways to stay active.
Article Submitted By Community Writer