For any parent, your children are the most important part of your life. You no doubt want to protect them from harm and ensure they lead as healthy a lifestyle as possible.
Children are increasingly leading unhealthy lifestyles, consuming junk food, indulging in sedentary habits, and spending too much time on their smartphones. The effects of these behaviors are being seen in rising levels of obesity, illness, and mental health problems in young people.
Our physical and mental health plays a huge part in almost all aspects of our lives, from eating to sleeping to how we entertain ourselves. And as a parent, it is up to you to ensure your child maintains healthy habits and behaviors. A young child might not have the best understanding of how their actions will affect their minds and bodies in the short and long term.
So what can you do to help? Here are five excellent ways to improve your child’s health.
Set a good example
Your child looks up to you and is likely to see your behavior as something to emulate. If you smoke, drink, and spend your weekends scrolling through Instagram in front of the TV, your little one will not see this as bad behavior. It will be the norm. Make sure that none of your bad habits rub off on your children by taking extra special care to avoid them. The best solution would be to eradicate your bad habits entirely, by quitting cigarettes, reducing your alcohol intake, and deleting your social media apps. But at the very minimum, you should ensure you don’t indulge in any of these behaviors in front of your child. Set an example by exercising, eating healthily, and engaging in more wholesome activities like reading.
Cook healthy meals
What you put into your body plays a tremendous part in your overall health. If your child eats chicken nuggets and fries every single night, they are going to be unhealthy and have an increased likelihood of obesity and sickness. Cooking healthily can be both cheap and delicious, and is easy if you follow some of the many nutritious recipes you can find online. Many parents worry that their child won’t eat fruit and vegetables, but dietary preferences are generally learned rather than innate. If you raise your child to eat good food, they will grow up enjoying it and will adopt this behavior into adulthood. If you struggle to get your kids eating well, try to involve them in the cooking process to make eating healthily more exciting and interactive.
Limit their device use
Children these days spend an excessive amount of time staring at their phones and playing video games. This can have enormous effects on their physical and mental health, leading to issues such as obesity, impaired academic performance, postural problems, anxiety, and depression. One of the most effective steps you can take to improve your child’s health is to limit the amount of time they spend on their phones. Set dedicated times such as meals and before bed, when phones are not allowed, and encourage them to spend their free time with more productive hobbies like reading and playing board games. When they go off to school, there’s little you can do to stop them from feeding their screen addiction, but there are numerous monitoring apps you can install on their phones that will tell you what they’re getting up to. Read more on Family Orbit’s official blog.
Encourage physical activity
Every child should have a physical hobby, whether it’s football, dance, gymnastics or running. It doesn’t matter whether your child is a star on the soccer pitch or lacks coordination; there will be numerous forms of exercise you can do together as a family. Try out a Saturday morning parkrun, go for long weekend walks. or find a local sports club for them to join. Just a few hours of exercise a week is enough to build good habits and make them stronger, fitter, and healthier.
Set a sleep routine
Sleep is one of the most underrated aspects of good health, and it is essential for everything from academic performance to physical health to mental wellness. If your child doesn’t get enough sleep, they might do badly in school and be more susceptible to illness, stress, and obesity. Set a sleep routine to ensure they go to bed and wake up at a similar time every day. This way, you know they are getting their eight hours a night and will feel much more rested and healthy in the morning.