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Ten unique things we can do to keep our kids healthy.

Updated on March 9, 2016

We hear it all the time, to keep your kids healthy they should eat right, exercise, and have shots up to date.

Yes, we all know the drill. But kids, ya gotta love them, are not just a cute face that follows you around and listens to your every word. No, sadly, kids are curious. They want to know why that thing on the stove turns red or orange. They want to know why you smell good after spraying that bottle on yourself. They want to know what that awful smell is and why it smells bad. There is so much more, that I could fill a whole hub with just the list. However, I will end here. I do, however, wish to note that kids are also extremely intelligent. They mimic an adults every move, and they throw our own words back at us. Rotten brats, oops, I mean, silly kids.

Children get distracted.

Children tend to forget what they are, and are not, supposed to do because they are so interested in what is going on around them. For instance, that tiny little sparkly thing under the couch looks real interesting………. So when that little youngster of yours begins to go quiet (warning, warning, red flag, red flag), you might want to check and see what the little angel has gotten into. No matter how much we clean and “child proof” our homes, they always manage to find the one thing we missed. I wonder how they do that.

Do you have bad habits that you don't want your children to pick up?

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Children learn what they see, not what we tell them.

Spend time with them while showing them how good we are at keeping safe and healthy. Our children learn more from our examples than from our words. No matter how much we say “no, no, no”, if we do, do, do, that is what the child will see, and inevitably, do. We can't believe that they won't see us do things because they have big ears and big eyes. Take the time to clean up your act (if you need to) so that you can teach your child the things you want your child to learn. Remember that the saying "do as I say not as I do" doesn't work.

Eating well is hard to teach unless you begin early.

Introduce the child to fruits and vegetables at an early age. (I always use the idea of “if you try a little and don’t like it, you don’t have to eat the rest.” They generally eat it, especially if it is a vegetable that I like.) This will help them develop a healthy eating habit. Also, limit how many sugary treats and snacks are in the house. This helps teach the child that a little goes a long way. (And no fair hiding and munching when the child can’t see you, remember the do as I do rule.)

Also, when throwing a party for the child, try asking everyone to bring a dish. That will mean they will be taking home the left-overs and there will be less for your child (and you) to snack on later.

Brushing their teeth

Teach the child to brush their teeth early. Early childhood tooth decay can cause a variety of health and mental issues later on in life. Children with poor tooth health often suffer pain, tooth loss, infections which can cause developmental problems and/or illness, and eating disorders. Their organs may not develop correctly due to bacteria or incorrect eating habits because their teeth hurt. They may have trouble concentrating in school and may have trouble socializing because of their teeth. When baby teeth develop decay and have to be removed, adult teeth may not come in correctly as a result.

You could give them fun brushes to use and a timer set for 2 minutes. Note: avoid giving a child a sugary bottle at bedtime because the sugar stays in their mouths for the majority of the night and can, and will, affect their first teeth.

A simple example of a schedule you might use

time
task
you could use this column for:
8 am
breakfast
snack ideas
9 am
school
time lengths of things
2 pm
after school snack and play time
dinner for the day_
4 pm
homework
You don't even need to have a written schedule put up
6pm
dinner
this could be strictly for your benefit
8 pm
bedtime
 

Keep them to a schedule

Sounds like the army, right? But, this actually helps them develop a balance of work and play time. A set schedule also helps to get the child to sleep on time giving them the necessary amount of sleep required for their development (and making it much easier for you at night). It also helps the child to eat better and snack less if meals are at a set time. There will be less trouble with getting them off to school, getting homework done, and getting their rooms clean (OK, I was exaggerating with that last one, but we can hope.) Children on a schedule get better grades, adjust faster to new situations, and handle adult stress better. I am not suggesting that you use a schedule so tight that nothing ever changes, but a regular schedule does make a difference.

While you are keeping them on that schedule, try to be consistent in your discipline techniques. If you give them a time-out each time they they argue back, rather than yell several times and then things get real rough, your child will understand that they will get a time-out if they argue back. This will prevent them from doing so except in extreme cases--at which time you might want to listen to them rather than punish them.

Peer pressure can be tough on kids

Your child may be convinced by their peers to wear certain things that show their position in life. For instance, if yellow sneakers with flashing lights are the newest thing, your child might be bullied into asking for a pair. Then, they might be wary when those sneakers become tight because they know you won't buy them a new yellow flashing set.

Check clothes and shoes often for tightness or wear and tear

Children often seem to grow overnight and their clothes get tight causing irritation, bruises, and sores. Tight clothes can also cause infections if not addressed. Often children get so caught up in their playing, that they forget to say something about their shoes hurting their toes or their pants rubbing their legs. Also, they might not tell you about it because it is the latest thing to have or it is their favorite item. Try to get the clothes slightly loose so the child has a bit of ‘breathing’ room (it’s a chance, but, well, if you are a parent, you know how quick they grow).

Okay, he's not scary looking, but he is a kitten and thus unpredictable. Children should still ask before trying to pet him.

Source

Strange animals

Teach your children not to approach strange animals. Strange animals may have health issues, parasites that may affect children if they touch them, or they may bite or scratch the child causing serious injury. Animals, especially sick or injured ones, will attack in order to protect themselves. It is instinct. Just like sniffing the air for an enemy or knowing how to get home. Just like a stranger, if children don’t know an animal, they shouldn’t approach it. And make sure they know to ask before approaching an animal that is attended by someone. Even animals with their owners might bite if approached without warning. Especially since children are fast and loud. This will frighten the animal even more. Wild animals should be avoided at all costs!

Ziplock has great products to use when packing lunches. Resealable bags, bowls that have covers, bottles for milk, or even containers for soups. These items will make lunch time packing fun and easy.

Lunch trading

When you pack a lunch for your child, you know the food is good and safe for your child to eat. If they trade their food, they could get something they are allergic to, for instance, or they might get a sugary treat that could make them sick. Children should never trade their lunches. A good way to keep your child from trading their lunch, is to let them choose what goes into their lunch each day. Have a variety of fruits, healthy snack items, and flavored milks as well as their favorite sandwich fixings.

Sometimes it makes them feel more grown up if you give them things like mayo packets so they can put on their own mayo at lunch. Be sure to include a spoon (knives are dangerous even if they aren’t sharp) to spread the mayo and a bag to seal the spoon in so they don’t get mayo all over their lunch box when they bring the spoon home. Or, you can give them a plastic spoon that they can throw away. Getting their lunch together the night before means they will have a healthy lunch rather than something thrown together as they are racing out the door to catch the bus.

It says "don't wash me away". Wonder if it can be convincing to kids.

Avoid the germ war

Teach your child to wash their hands often and properly to avoid germs that may be present. All children get sick because their immune system is still trying to build itself up. The younger the child, the weaker the immune system. The fighting of the germs children are exposed to might make them a bit sick. No big deal, right? We don’t really want to avoid the common germs because they do help our children’s immune systems to develop.

But what about other cases like when the child falls on the ground (imagine what could be there for them to put their hands into) or empties the trash into a dirty trash bin? Those germs are stronger than the common ones and they can cause your child to become seriously ill. If your child regularly washes their hands (especially after these events), there will be less of a chance the child will become seriously ill. They may get a bit sick, but their bodies can fight that. They can’t fight the serious bacteria that grows and mutates into something stronger and stronger as we try to fight it. By teaching our children to properly wash their hands, and to wash them often, we teach them to wash away those dangerous germs causing less exposure and less of a chance of them getting seriously ill.

This video by Joseph Michael Greene on YouTube gives you an idea of the difficulties of gaming addiction.

Gaming systems are not babysitters

Restrict the use of your child's gaming systems. Involve them more in the things to be done with the family. Gaming systems are great for teaching children dexterity, hand/eye coordination, and brain strength, but too much can be dangerous and/or addictive. By involving them in doing things for/or with the family, you get them their much needed exercise but you also give them a sense of accomplishment. Assign them each a simple chore to be done each day, or have them help with dinner.

You would be surprised how much little hands can help out when you get creative. I have put my young ones to work setting the table, stirring items on low heat, mixing eggs into a batter, or even drying the plastic items when I did dishes. It gives them a sense of involvement, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of being grown-up. (Oh yes, make sure everyone in the house compliments them on a task well done when they brag about their endeavors.) The best part is: once they get used to helping out when young, it is easier to get them to help when they are older. And don't let the boys off the hook if you believe that some tasks are for girls only. Teaching a boy to cook, do dishes and wash clothes will be excellent for when he is on his own and needs to do these things for himself.

Remember to always teach them to "do as I do and say" and not "do as I say not as I do".

Love, love, love

As children grow, of course, you will have to get creative with your teachings; however, I think the majority of these will be lessons learned for a life-time of healthy choices and observations. Oh yes, one last thing. Love your kids unconditionally. No matter what they do, say, or break, they are still your kids and they love you more than you will ever know. Show them that love back, as often as you can, and training, teaching, guiding, and helping will be much easier. Besides, it is so much fun to wrap that cute little angel in your arms and hug and kiss them, isn’t it (especially when they are ‘all grown up’ and don’t do that mushy stuff anymore, right moms?)

I know a lot of what I have here is common sense, but sometimes it’s easier to keep up with such things if they are written down for us to see. I hope I have given at least one person a helping hand in keeping their children healthy.

© 2012 Cheryl Simonds

Comments

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    • cherylone profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheryl Simonds 

      6 years ago from Connecticut

      carolinemd21, thank you for your great words. I have three children and four grandchildren. I hope you will be as blessed soon. :)

    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 

      6 years ago

      Hi Cheryl, I don't have kids yet. One day I would like some though. Very good hub with your expertise. :)

    • cherylone profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheryl Simonds 

      6 years ago from Connecticut

      parentsreview, I am so glad you stopped by and enjoyed my hub. I learned the hard way about tooth decay and I already knew about lunch trading, I had a heck of a time with my kids trading. Thanks for the comments. :)

    • parentsreview profile image

      parentsreview 

      6 years ago from Lansdowne, PA

      This is a great list of tips. Some of them were a little surprising, like tooth decay can affect health and avoid trading lunch items. These are some good ideas.

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