Ten Unique Things We Can Do to Keep Our Kids Healthy.
To Keep Your Kids Healthy
Yes, we all know the drill: vacinate, feed healthy, and excerise. But kids, ya gotta love them, are not just a cute face that follows you around and listens to your every word. No, 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 adult's every move, and they throw our own words back at us. Rotten brats, oops, I mean, silly kids.
These ten steps will help you in so many ways to keep up with healthy eating, vaccinations, and exercise; plus a whole lot more.
- Children Learn What They See
- Eating Well is Hard to Teach If You Don't Practice it Yourself
- Children Are Naturally Curious
- Brushing Their Teeth
- Schedules Can Help
- Peer Pressure
- Tight or Torn Clothes
- Strange Animals
- Lunch Trading
- Gaming Systems and Cell Phones Are Not Babysitters
Notes: Love and Germs
Children Learn What They See
Spending time with them while showing them how good we are at keeping safe and healthy is the best way to teach them. 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 we are not supposed to do 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 If You Don't Practice it Yourself
Make sure the child sees you eating healthy while you are trying to get them to eat it. 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. And get cupcakes instead of cake so each person gets the same size portion. Any that are left can be distributed as left-overs.
No matter how we try, our children find and experiment with things they shouldn't. Try keeping things high and/or inaccessible if possible.
Children Are Naturally Curious
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, and they will crawl under to examine it. 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.
So use their curiousity. Show them what you are doing and let them help you. Drying plastic dishes, wiping down a cabinet, or even sweeping the floor (they hold the dust pan while you sweep the stuff into it) can teach them good habits and all of you can have a little fun in the process. You will keep their attention longer.
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. So brush your teeth with them. Children with poor tooth health often suffer pain, tooth loss, and infections. These things 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 two minutes. And brushing with them will show them it is okay to stand there for two minutes and brush. 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.
Ideas and Comments Could Be
Snack ideas from the kids.
Things to do for entertainment.
After school snack and play time
Dinner for the day.
You don't even need to have a written schedule put up, but it helps.
Schedules will help you and them and keep problems to a minimum.
These items can be changed if you use a white board.
Schedules Can Help
Sounds like the army, right? Every thing scheduled out and all. 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 with your own schedule and your discipline. For example: if you give them a time-out each time they argue back, rather than yelling several times while things get out of hand, your child will understand that they will get a time-out if they argue back. Arguing with them only brings on more trouble. So be consistent and take action. This will prevent them from being so difficult. Also, in extreme cases-you might want to listen to them rather than punish them, because they may have a good reason.
Remember how tough it was to say no to your peers? The majority of kids, especially today, can be bullied and pressured by their peers to do all sorts of things. Things that you don't want them to do. Take smoking for example: they will have peers telling them to not be a baby and try it. Their peers will bully and push until they cry or try it. Peers can make children feel cast out, depressed, and dejected. They aren't with the in crowd. And if you smoke, they will be ten times more likely to give in to the peer pressure because you do. There are many factors that can affect the things your child will do when bullied and even when they are not bullied. But, try talking and being honest with them. Let them know you went through it too. Help them to understand consequences for the things they want to do. Most of all, support them and their decisions, as long as it isn't illegal. This will give them the confidence to say no and stick to it. They will better understand why you say no if you explain the reason (and no fair using "because I said so" unless you really have to).
Tight or Torn Clothes
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 to take because so many don't like the loose clothes; but, well, if you are a parent, you know how quick they grow).
Teens can be more difficult. They dress so strangely to begin with that it is often hard to tell if they are out growing their clothes or if they are wearing the item on purpose. Also, they might wear sandals in the winter because it goes with the outfit. Or they might wear pants that are torn because everyone else is doing it. So check them when you can and then try to reason with them (I know impossible, but try). NOTE: I am not trying to tell you to snoop in their room. Just pay attention to what they are wearing.
One of the best things you can teach your children is 'don't approach strange animals'. Strange animals (strays or wild ones trying to get food) 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! Practice what you preach so that the children will understand why and how to stay safe.
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.
Safety Tip: Remind your children to wash their hands regularly especially before touching or eating food. Trading their lunch could potentially make your child sick because germs are everywhere; in and out of lunches and lunch rooms.
Remember to always teach them to "do as I do and say" and not "do as I say not as I do".
Gaming Systems and Cell Phones Are Not Babysitters
Restrict the use of your child's gaming systems and cell phones. Try to involve them more in the things done with the family. 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 because 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.
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.
Note: Love And Germs
Love your kids unconditionally. No matter what they do, say, or break, because 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?)
While you are loving them, be sure to teach them to wash their hands often and properly to avoid germs that may be present all around them. 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 sometimes germs are tricky and very mean. Keep them at bay yourself and for your kids.
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.
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 and happy for life.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Cheryl Simonds