Want to get your little ones off to a good start? Begin with these eight basic health tips.
Educate them about health. When they are old enough, have conversations with your kids about what it means to be healthy. Explain why it’s important to eat nutritious foods and exercise – and encourage them to ask questions.
Stick to routines. Children thrive on structure, and it helps to form healthy habits and eliminate power struggles. Keep your child on a daily schedule of regular meals and naps, and set a firm bedtime. Then, stick to it!
Cut back on screen time. Set limits on time they can spend watching TV, on the computer, or playing video games – most experts recommend no more than one to two hours of screen time per day.
Schedule checkups. Have your child begin seeing a pediatrician in infancy, and begin yearly checkups after age 3. Additionally, your child should have his or her first visit to the dentist within six months of their first tooth and by no later than their first birthday.
Get them moving. Kids age 6 and older need at least one hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Expose your kids to a variety of activities and sports from an early age, and give them incentive to go outside by purchasing a variety of balls and active toys.
Teach good hygiene. Emphasizing the importance of handwashing will help keep your kids from getting sick all year long. Teach them not to put their hands in their mouths and to cough or sneeze onto their sleeve rather than their hands.
Promote healthy eating. Begin the day with a nutritious breakfast, pack healthy lunches, and eat dinner together as a family as often as possible. Show your kids what a balanced meal looks like, and encourage them to eat slowly and listen to their bodies to know when they are full.
Take the lead. Children learn by example. If they see that fitness and nutrition are important in your own life, they will be far more likely to value them as they grow older. Model the behaviors you would love to see them develop.