Parenting 101: Strategies to Help Your Child Choose a Healthy Lifestyle

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Parenting 101

Children are often regarded as a mirror image of their parents. It is true because kids tend to mimic behaviors they observe. Children automatically adopt their parents’ practices from an early age. Therefore, it is vital to incorporate healthy habits in children for an active and sustainable lifestyle. It’s the parent’s responsibility to provide an environment that promotes clean eating, physical activity, and overall well-being. Lack of proper nutrition will affect the development and learning capabilities of children.

Tips for Parents

Below are 13 strategies parents and guardians can adopt to inspire a healthy lifestyle in children:

1. Adopt Healthy Habits as a Parent

Lead by example for your children and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Let your children observe while you eat vegetables and fruits, work out, play a sport, read, and spend quality time with friends and family. Become a role model that your kids would want to follow. Children are likely to learn and repeat the behavior they see rather than what they are told.

2. Eat Healthily

Tell your children the health benefits of eating natural and organic food. A healthy diet comprises all the good nutrients your body needs to function. Include meat, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and nuts in your child’s diet. A balanced diet should contain all the necessary vitamins, protein, minerals, and fiber for physical and mental growth. Encourage your child to eat vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cucumber, carrots, and sprouts instead of unhealthy junk food.

3. Include Your Special Children

Some children are born with conditions such as Down Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that hinder their physical and mental growth. These children can lead healthy and productive lives with the help of proper medication, therapy, nutrition, and care. However, children born with disabilities due to birth injury malpractice may suffer for the rest of their lives. Such injuries occur before, during, or after delivery and may result in cerebral or Erb’s Palsy. Parents should accept, embrace, and include such children and provide the utmost love and attention they deserve.

4. Indulge in Outdoor Activity

Outdoor activities like walking, biking, jogging, and running are great for physical and mental health. Take your children to the nearby park for a quick walk or plan a weekly outdoor exercise as a family. Time spent in nature instantly uplifts the mood, refreshes the mind, and relaxes the body. Give your children daily bike lessons or teach them a sport. It will also give children a chance to appreciate nature, make new friends, and gain self-confidence. Outdoors is a perfect way to spend time in nature and away from technology.

5. Go for Family Picnics

Go for picnics at nearby parks, beaches, zoos, or camp in the woods. Activities like these have a positive impact on children’s cognition. Let your child explore different places and help them experience the outside world to feed their curiosity.

6. Say No to Skipping Meals

Parents and kids tend to skip meals, especially breakfast, due to busy work and school schedules. Get up early and start your day with a healthy morning meal. Skipping meals reduces energy, tiredness, low metabolism, and constipation. Moreover, not eating breakfast also results in mental health concerns such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

7. Eliminate Processed Sugar

Processed food such as soft drinks, juices, cakes, pastries, sweets, candies, and chocolate have high sugar content. Overconsumption of sugar may lead to weight gain and chemical imbalances in the brain. It is also linked with aggressive behavior in children. Therefore, eliminate or reduce refined sugar and incorporate natural sugar from fruits into your diet. Fruits are rich in fructose and glucose and are a great alternative to harmful sugar treats.

8. Dairy Consumption for Bone Health

Dairy items such as milk and yogurt are rich in calcium, vitamin D and B, potassium, protein, and phosphorus. Milk consumption decreases the risk of osteoporosis, strengthens the bones, and helps sore muscles. Give your children a glass of milk or a bowl of yogurt for breakfast for the nourishment their body requires.

9. Drink Enough Water

Let your children drink water instead of fizzy drinks and artificial juices. Water regulates mood, improves physical performance, and cleanses the blood. Lack of water in the body will lead to health problems like constipation, kidney stones, and abdomen pain. Kids should drink up to 1 liter of water to stay hydrated and maintain body temperature.

10. Limit Screen Time

Extensive use of mobiles, tablets, laptops, and computer and TV screens leads to severe physical health concerns in adults and children alike. Limit your screen exposure and spend that time on a wholesome family activity. Play board games, tell stories, read, or indulge in a home décor project. Uninterrupted screen usage causes mental fatigue and disturbs the quality of life. Similarly, children are also prone to develop weak eyesight, headaches, and sleeping problems.

11. Take a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is nature’s way to cleanse and maintain our bodies. Set a sleep schedule for your children and ensure they follow through. Restrict use of gadgets and mobile devices beyond that time. Uninterrupted sleep enhances brain performance, improves mood, and reduces stress and the risk of heart diseases and diabetes. Sleep varies by age; teenagers need at least 8 to 10 while school-age kids require up to 12 hours of sleep.

12. Read for Mental Strength

Inspire your children to read every day. Reading is a healthy brain activity to improve memory, focus, and empathy. Reading a couple of pages before bed helps calm the mind and promote peaceful sleep. As a parent, dedicate 30 minutes daily and read to your children. Take your children to book shops, libraries, and book fairs to teach the love of reading and books.

13. Maintain Hygiene

Cleanliness and personal hygiene are essential for a good life. Instill the habit of bathing, hand washing, and tooth cleaning in children. Good hygiene prevents the risk of viral infections, the spread of infectious bacteria, and skin allergies. Children with good hygiene practices are regular at school and perform well.

Final Thoughts

Parents who lead healthy lifestyles are more likely to raise children who make ethical decisions. Kids should be inspired and encouraged by their parents to eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and exercise. More importantly, they should limit screen time, read, and keep themselves clean to stay fit and healthy. Children cannot lead a healthy lifestyle without the correct direction and parental encouragement.

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