As a parent, you look after your kids in so many ways. They depend on you for everything in their life. When one of your kids’ health isn’t up to par, it can be hard on both you and your child. Here are 10 surprising things that are key to your kid’s health.
1. Natural Foods
A healthy diet is key to good health. Although many foods today are super convenient and quick, it doesn’t mean they have good ingredients and nutrients. Natural, unprocessed foods are best for children. Limit how much added sugar enters their diet. However, this doesn’t mean you have to cut out junk food completely. Labeling foods as good or bad can make a child crave the bad foods more often. Instead, offer them in moderation. For example, you can add chips to a meal loaded with veggies and protein. To your child, junk food will be just another food.
Your child’s skin is sensitive and needs as much care as possible, especially in the summer months. During the summer, your kids are likely outside for the majority of the time. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can damage your children’s skin and increase their skin cancer risk. If you have a child younger than six months, keep them out of the sun as much as possible. Any children older than that should wear sunscreen, and it should be reapplied every two hours, or even more if your child is sweating or in water.
3. Doctor and Dentist Visits
Regular doctor and dentist visits can help keep your child healthy. When you visit your family doctor or pediatrician, they can give you updates on your child’s growth and overall health. Additionally, they can provide you information on how to prevent any hereditary diseases. The same is true for dental visits. Once your child begins getting teeth, you can take them to the dentist. The dentist will give you oral hygiene tips and information on preventing any dental problems that they may notice through examinations and x-rays.
4. Up-to-Date Vaccinations
Vaccines help prevent the spread of diseases. Vaccinations have been a popular topic recently, with the vaccines for COVID-19 available to almost everyone now. Your pediatrician or family doctor should have a list of your child’s vaccinations. Although vaccines can be scary for younger children, you can be a role model for them as a parent. Be sure to keep up-to-date with your vaccinations as well, such as the yearly flu shot.
5. Unstructured Play
With the advancement of technology over the years, many kids tend to spend anywhere from four to nine hours in front of a screen each day. Unstructured play has lost its value, but it’s beneficial for your kid’s health. Playing without any limits helps a child develop socially, behaviorally, physically and cognitively. It gets them out of a set box and into a world of imagination and communication with others. Kids can make their own rules with unstructured play, so take the screens away and let them play without any restrictions or distractions.
6. Proper Hand Washing
You’ve probably heard this a million times already, but it can’t be stressed enough — teach your child how to properly wash their hands. Hand washing is one of the best and most important ways to stop the spread of germs and illnesses. Frequent hand washing is a great habit to teach from a young age. Anytime your child uses the bathroom, sneezes, coughs and before eating, they should wash their hands. It reduces their risk of getting sick.
7. A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is just as crucial for a child as is the food they eat. It’s a vital part of keeping a kid healthy. Missing sleep can lead to a lack of concentration, poor eating habits, injuries and depression. Additionally, when children get proper rest, they function better in school and can pay better attention. On average, a kid should get anywhere from eight to 16 hours of sleep every night, depending on their age.
8. Keeping Them Home When They’re Sick
Of course, you want to keep your kids in school as much as possible. It can be challenging to make up a day of classes and homework. However, you should keep your children home when they come down with a fever, cold, stomach bug or any other sickness. When they stay home from school when they’re sick, they can get the proper rest. Additionally, you can keep a better eye on their fluid intake. Letting your kids rest for a day or two can boost their chances of a quick recovery. Plus, keeping them home prevents the spread of the illness.
9. Letting Them Show Emotions
Kids have a wide range of emotions as they grow up, and not all kids show emotion in the same way. When their emotional health is poor, their physical health is more at risk for colds and other illnesses. You, as a parent, should recognize their feelings and allow them to show them. Respecting feelings will enable kids to have room to feel their emotions. Many parents jump to saying things like, “It’s okay!” While it may be okay, dismissing feelings makes children feel like they shouldn’t be feeling a certain way.
10. Watching for Stress
Kids go through more stressful times than you might think. Especially now, with COVID-19, kids have to adjust to new school schedules and social protocols to ensure their physical health is safe. Stress and anxiety can harm kids’ overall health. As a parent, you can help them learn how to de-stress and what things in their lives they can control. Not everything works the same for different children, so you may have to find other methods for each of your kids.
Keeping Your Kids Healthy
With these tips, you can keep your kids safe and healthy this year. There’s a lot that goes into good health, but doing these things now will be beneficial for your child’s health in the future.