8/17/2018

Tips For Raising A Happy & Healthy Child

As a parent, you will always want your children to grow up to be happy and healthy. When they are young, it is your responsibility to keep them fit and healthy and to teach them how to properly care for themselves so that they will continue to lead a good lifestyle when they start to become a young adult. It can be difficult to know how to keep your kids happy and healthy and particularly in a day and age where so many youngsters are glued to their phones, so read on for a few tips which could have a huge impact on their health and wellbeing.

Set A Good Example
First, it is important that you are setting a good example for your children. Kids look up to their parents and will often emulate their behavior when they grow older - this means that you should be practicing what you preach by leading an active and healthy lifestyle. This will involve regular exercise, eating healthily, looking after your mental health, attending doctors and dentist appointments. Keeping to schedules and goals yourself will encourage your child to do the same.

Educate Your Kids
They may learn about the importance of exercise and a healthy diet in school, but it can be much more effective coming from a parent. From a young age, you should be teaching about the physical and mental benefits of looking after your body as well as the importance of continuing this throughout adulthood. This should also include the importance of self-care, listening to your body and addressing any form of health concern as early as possible.

Encourage Any Form of Exercise
If your child shows an active interest in any form of exercise, then you should always encourage them to pursue this. In today’s day and age, many children socialize online instead of meeting up outside and running around and playing sports, for example. Physical education does not provide enough exercise, and often it will be something that they do not enjoy, so it is important for all kids to find some form of exercise that they enjoy. For some, this will be a competitive team sport like baseball, basketball or hockey, whilst others may prefer something like running, swimming or cycling.

Healthy Diet
Exercise is only half of the equation when it comes to physical health - you must also look at their diet. Kids will always want to eat candy and junk food and, although this is ok in moderation, you need to make sure that they have a good diet when it comes to their main meals. This is something that you have control over, but you could also get them to help you cook so that they know how to prepare healthy and nutritious food for themselves when the time comes to move out.

Walk Instead of Drive
Many people will get behind the wheel whenever they need to go somewhere even if it is just to pick up a few bits from the store down the road. Instead of doing this, try to replace driving with walking or cycling wherever possible. Even a brisk walk each day can have a huge impact on physical health, plus it is also much better for the environment and can even be a fun family activity too.

Dental Health
Unfortunately, dental health is massively overlooked by many adults which can cause a whole host of problems for their children down the line and particularly if they consume a lot of sugar. Find a local dental practice and make sure that you and the kids attend regular checkups. Many children find going to the dentist scary, but you can find family dental practices that do all they can to make the child feel at ease - you can read more here. Attending regular checkups ensures that any problems are identified early and will not turn into major issues which will require a lot of work.

Brush, Floss & Rinse
Following on from this, you should always ensure that your children take good care of their teeth in order to stop any dental issues from occurring. Make sure that the brush their teeth twice a day, floss once a day and rinse with mouthwash. Fortunately, modern-day toothpaste is so effective that most kids can avoid any kind of dental issues provided that they take care of their teeth.

Eye Test
With so many kids (and adults) glued to their screens throughout the day, this can have a huge impact on people’s eyes, so you need to make sure that your child gets their eyes tested from time to time. In addition to this, it is also a good idea to limit the amount of time that they spend on their devices (more on this to come) or encourage them to take regular breaks.

Discuss Mental Health
Mental health has become an enormous problem amongst the younger generations in recent times, and this can be attributed to a myriad of factors. Unfortunately, there is somewhat of a stigma attached to this which can make it hard for youngsters (and adults) to open up and talk about how they feel - this is problematic and could lead to serious problems down the line. Regularly check in with your kid to see how they are feeling and make sure that your home is an environment that is open about mental health. If you have any concerns, consider speaking to the school or a mental health specialist who can help.

Socializing
Socializing is, of course, hugely important in terms of mental health and development and especially for young kids. Communicating via social media is not a replacement for real-world contact so you should make sure that your little ones are socializing in a healthy environment on a regular basis. A school is a fantastic place for this, but it is also important that they are social outside of school with people their own age. This is another reason why sports and exercise are so important for today’s youth. Encourage them to strike up friendships as these are invaluable throughout childhood and beyond and an important part of growing up. It can also be helpful to get to know their friends and their parents to create a strong bond and support network.

Encourage Creativity
In addition to being physically active, it is also smart to encourage any form of creativity as an outlet. Drawing, painting, taking photos, playing a musical instrument and singing are just a few examples. This will help them to learn how to express themselves which is hugely important, and it could also develop into a healthy habit for them to pursue into adulthood.

Limit Screen Time
As mentioned earlier, many of today’s youth spend an unhealthy amount of time looking at screens whether it is social media, playing video games, watching television or playing on their phone. In addition to being bad for their eyesight, this can also be dangerous as it is isolating and not a reflection of the real world. Parents should limit the amount of time that their children can use these screens so that they can spend their time in a healthier way. This could include spending time with the family, socializing with friends, exercising, or reading, for example.

Give Praise
Always praise and give positive feedback for any effort that your child makes when it comes to physical and mental wellbeing. Children crave reinforcement so you should always provide this where appropriate, but be careful not to overdo this as it can feel insincere or have a negative impact. Additionally, it is always helpful to be optimistic as this is very closely linked with happiness and it can help with world outlook, confidence, focus and other key areas.

Quality Family Time
For a happy atmosphere at home, which will spread to other areas of their life, you should aim to spend time together and work on being a tight-knit, fun-loving family. You can achieve this by scheduling in regular family activities focused on enjoying one another’s company. This can be anything from a family picnic, going swimming together, a trip to the park or simply staying in and playing board games together on a rainy day. Additionally, eating dinner together each night is a healthy practice and can be great for emotional stability and socializing. It is also important to note that the household should not be overly serious all the time and it is equally important to laugh and joke around - laughter is the best medicine!

These are just a few ways that you can raise your children to be happy and healthy. This is the hope of every parent in the world, but it can also be a huge challenge, and there is no manual to this as every child is different. It is key that in addition to the above, you carefully observe your child and understand that there are likely to dip, and this is perfectly natural (particularly when they reach their teens!). Promoting an active, social and healthy lifestyle will give them the building blocks that they need to grow up and become well-adjusted, considerate and positive adults that know how to properly look after themselves.

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