Raising a healthy child is every parent’s top priority. Parents who care about their children’s physical and mental health start grooming their children to adopt healthy habits as young as possible. They know that children who adopt healthy habits and maintain physical, emotional, and mental well-being during their early years are better prepared to become adults.
An ill child often falls behind in school and fails to participate in after-school activities, resulting in stress, low self-esteem, and little or no socializing. If you’re a health-conscious parent, here are eight ways to raise a child who’s healthy in both mind and body.
Regular Visits to the Pediatrician
The first five years of a child’s life are critical to their physical and mental development. When you visit a pediatrician for a regular checkup, they check whether your child is growing at a normal pace or lacks behind in weight, height, head circumference, and other vitals.
While each child grows differently, pediatricians calculate certain ratios like weight-for-length, weight-for-age, length-for-age, and head circumference to check for anomalies. Children with certain congenital diseases or health conditions due to childbirth injuries need to be monitored closely by healthcare providers. If your child has developed symptoms of cerebral palsy, timely treatment and therapy can keep the health condition from worsening.
Cerebral Palsy is a life-long condition developed due to medical negligence during childbirth. After diagnosis, healthcare schedules frequent visits to ensure your child stays healthy. Medical malpractice is an offense. If your child suffers from cerebral palsy due to medical negligence, you can find an attorney and file a lawsuit against the authority. Healthcare providers found guilty of medical malpractice during childbirth face serious penalties, and parents can get medical compensation.
Ensure All Immunizations
As a parent, you should ensure that your child doesn’t miss out on any vaccine. By the age of 2, most children have received approximately 24 vaccines. A figure like this may make parents want to skip some vaccines.
However, young children must receive their vaccines on time to strengthen their immune systems against life-threatening diseases like cholera, measles, mumps, rotavirus, etc. The antibodies developed to protect your child for the rest of their life.
The advantages of immunizing your child outweigh any risks. So, consult your child’s healthcare provider to get a complete schedule of immunizations.
Breast Feeding Over Bottle Feeding
It is scientifically proven that breastfeeding is more beneficial than bottle feeding. Breast milk contains essential nutrients and antibodies necessary for healthy growth. Research shows breastfed babies have a reduced risk of infections and allergies compared to bottle-fed babies.
Engage in Physical Activity
Raising healthy children requires physical activity. Though 60 minutes don’t seem like a lot, it’s beneficial for your child’s physical health.
Regular fitness exercises and physical activity improve children’s cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, boost mental and emotional well-being, maintain a healthy weight, and decrease their chances of chronic illnesses. It will also help your child become a healthier person and improve their performance in almost any sport, from dancing and figure skating to soccer and football.
Be Careful About Meals
The choice of food is a major concern when it comes to the healthy upbringing of children. Intake of healthy food is important since it plays a vital role in their physical and mental development.
Children below two years of age require a special diet containing lots of protein and fats essential for brain development. But older children should have a diet consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables, lots of grains, good proteins, and less sugary, fatty foods. Aside from meals, check with your children’s doctor to discuss the idea of giving your kid some extra vitamins to increase their health, such as iron gummies, magnesium gummies, or others that your child may require
Be sure to praise your children when they opt for healthy food choices, but if they go for something unhealthy, instead of reprimanding them, go for a healthier version of their favorite food.
While promoting the intake of healthy foods among children, it is also important to not restrict your child from eating. If you tell them to hold off on certain foods, it will have negative aftereffects, which may also escalate into eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia.
Children will eat whatever is available and can only eat what you keep in the house, So the better option is to keep healthy snacks in the house, such as oats and raisin cookies in the cabinet or banana pudding pie in the fridge.
Appreciate Every Effort, Don’t Opt for Perfection
Parents who place too much emphasis on achievement and showcasing their child’s capabilities in front of others are likelier to have children with elevated stress, anxiety, and depression levels.
Kids try to maintain their “smart” status in the social circle and often prefer choosing the easier way to avoid making mistakes. On the other hand, children who are given the opportunity and encouragement to put their efforts into solving a problem without high expectations have a greater tendency to achieve success after trial and error.
Parents must set realistic goals for their children, avoid perfectionism, and encourage their efforts to solve problems. Parents who admire their children for their efforts motivate them to continue participating. Such children are not influenced by a desire to appear intelligent when learning.
Make a Bedtime Routine
A child’s health is directly related to the amount of sleep they’re taking. Sleep is nourishment for the brain, especially in younger children.
A child’s brain develops primarily during sleep. Research shows that sleep influences learning and behavior by causing specific changes in the brain. Children who don’t get enough sleep have problems focusing and lack emotional control and social learning abilities. The opposite happens when your child has a strict bedtime routine and gets enough sleep daily.
Create a bedtime routine for your child and tuck them into the bed one hour before bedtime. Toddlers require 11 to 14 hours of sleep, while preschoolers require ten to thirteen hours. Children older than 7 need at least 9 hours of sleep, while teenagers need uninterrupted sleep of 6 hours each night.
Be Aware of Their Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing
Mental health refers to how children perceive themselves and their surroundings. It impacts how they deal with various situations in life and how they respond to stress.
Children’s mental health is greatly influenced by their environment and how they interact with their loved ones. Children raised in abusive, loud, and restricted environments are more depressed and anxious than those raised in a loving, open environment. In contrast, a child brought up in a positive environment can develop positive social, communication, and interpersonal skills.
Young children are like a blank canvas and start understanding basic emotions like fear, disappointment, sadness, and frustration between 2-5 years of age. Hence, it is important for parents to take care of their children’s mental, social, and emotional development from an early age since this will affect the type of person they become in the future.
Every parent wishes their children good health and success in life. Parents are the protagonists in laying the foundation of their child’s life; this is why parents need to help their child adopt a healthy lifestyle and engage in positive activities to nurture their brain and foster emotional well-being. We hope the above list will help you evaluate your child’s health and raise a healthy child.