Of all the jobs worldwide, parenting might be the most challenging one of them all. Whether it’s your first child or fourth, the whole parenthood process remains a continuous learning curve, especially while juggling bills, relationships, and hobbies. And although there are various factors you must pay special attention to, your child’s health takes the top priority.
Despite recent advancements in modern medicine, disease prevalence and case ratios exist across populations. The primary reason for this is the unhealthy and harmful behaviors that are common among individuals. When parents fail to set beneficial lifestyle choices for their kids, their relationship with food and exercise, for example, gets severely compromised. Getting your children to practice a healthy lifestyle from an early age guarantees their well-being for long into adulthood. And since your child depends entirely on you for both survival and robust growth, it’s up to you to put in the right amount of effort.
More importantly, raising a healthy child doesn’t just mean keeping them free of disease or illnesses. But instead, it also encompasses the individual’s physical, social, and mental well-being. So, if you want to ensure your child thrives and remains healthy, use these six tips to guide and help you make the right choices.
Schedule routine medical checkups
Newborn babies and toddlers require regular medical checkups every little while to ensure their growth is progressing as expected. Although this might vary in healthcare settings, wellness appointments typically get conducted when your baby’s two weeks old up until they turn five years old. Clinical practitioners carefully examine your child’s physical and mental development to identify potential health concerns early on.
These appointments might diagnose childbirth injuries in newborns in the initial stages, which is crucial for getting assistance when the problem’s still treatable. Even if your baby hasn’t achieved a particular milestone, this is not a cause for panic. Instead, your pediatrician or medical professional will help you recognize early warning signs so you can take the necessary steps to provide your child with the best care.
Stay up-to-date with vaccinations
Babies are only born with antibodies passed onto them from mothers during pregnancy. But this protection is temporary and soon leaves the newborn susceptible to acquiring illnesses. Vaccines play a vital role in preventing diseases and curtailing their transmission. Since your child’s immunity is not yet fully developed, you must take steps to safeguard them against potentially infectious agents. This preventive measure ensures your kid grows up safely without the risk of falling severely ill.
Immunization schedules may vary depending on a particular region and its prevailing endemics. However, generally, children are given vaccines for Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, influenza, and Diptheria while they’re growing up. You must also remember that while getting your child vaccinated is important, you must ensure their immunizations follow the appropriate age schedule.
Enforce healthy eating
The sooner you get your kids to eat healthy, nutritious food—the better their chances are of living a full and healthy life. While newborns can’t take solid foods, you must still be careful what you feed them and how often you do it. For instance, although readily available, processed and packaged baby food aren’t always the wisest food choice. The additives and chemicals in these might help your child grow quicker, but they also make them prone to developing chronic health concerns like diabetes and obesity later on.
Once your baby surpasses breastfeeding age, you can give them fresh fruits and vegetables in whatever form they can consume. These food groups have the perfect nutritional balance and contribute significantly to your child’s growth, muscle strength, and immunity. In addition, enforcing healthy eating habits from an early age increases kids’ chances of adopting similar lifestyle choices as adults.
Encourage them in regular physical activities
Being physically active helps your child grow into a healthy and energetic individual who can be more beneficial for society. Regular exercise isn’t just necessary for adults, but for kids as well. To encourage your kids to stay fit, encourage them to go to parks, ride bicycles, participate in sports, or play games with friends. Such activities achieve three primary fitness elements: endurance, flexibility, and strength.
Although there are several benefits of regular exercise, staying active fundamentally does the following:
- develops stronger muscles and bones
- lowers the risk of diabetes
- prevents obesity
- promotes a better outlook on life
- prevents accumulation of muscle fat
Children who engage in physical activities are also more likely to exercise as they grow older. This lifestyle significantly contributes to avoiding chronic and severe illnesses like heart disease, stroke, and cancer—the leading causes of death worldwide.
Develop proper sleep patterns
Getting the proper recommended hours of rest is crucial for every individual, young or old. Children are no different. They, too, need sleep to regain their energy and keep themselves from getting exhausted too much, too soon. Research shows that the body secretes growth hormones essential for your child’s development while sleeping. Too little or disruptive sleep patterns can result in a child quickly becoming weak and getting tired early in the day. To prevent this, encourage your kid to bed early and set a fixed time when they must start winding down.
Those who have the habit of sleeping early are often early risers as well. This practice improves an individual’s work efficiency and performance, as people perform better during the day when they’re most active.
Always practice hygiene
Children adopt their behaviors and habits by learning from their environment and the adults around them. As parents or guardians, you’re their primary source of this information. Therefore, consciously or not, everything you do eventually portrays your child’s attitude. And so, when your child’s still growing up, you must take extra care to incorporate certain hygiene practices into your everyday routine. Doing so helps your kid adapt these habits and keeps them safe from getting ill.
For example, since germs and bacterial organisms constantly surround children, they’re at a high risk of getting infected. But by washing their hands before and after every meal, they can significantly reduce this risk and quickly mitigate this problem. Other habits you can instill in your child include:
- brushing their teeth
- regular showers
- covering their nose and mouths when sneezing or coughing
- trimming their nails
- wearing clean clothes
It’s true that parenting can never come with a “one-size fits all” guide. It’s a continuous learning and improvement process that only you can reshape to fit your child’s needs. And additionally, raising your child to be healthy can be even more challenging, but still very much possible. Use the tips above to act as your guide and see which behaviors and practices work best for your family.