Keeping your kids healthy doesn’t mean trying to shield them from every little bug they may come across. Rather, it means encouraging a healthy body and immune system that can brush off those illnesses now and into the long term. You have the opportunity to establish some very important habits that will help them lead a longer, healthier life.
If there’s one thing kids are good at, it’s catching every bug that comes their way. They can bounce back quicker than a flash, but their parents are often left slowly catching up, only to then get knocked down by the next illness. This is fine for everyday colds and the flu but can be incredibly dangerous when it comes to things like chicken pox. If an adult didn’t get chicken pox as a child, for example, it could be deadly.
The best way to keep everyone in the household safe and healthy, then, is to ensure that vaccinations are up-to-date, including non-essential ones like the chickenpox vaccine. This vaccine has been in circulation for over two decades, and it’s highly effective. You can spare your kids the pain of scratching and can absolutely protect any adult in the household that somehow managed to avoid getting chickenpox as a kid.
Focus on Healthy Eating
There are many great ways to encourage healthy eating without demonizing any food. Demonising some food as bad can lead to issues like eating disorders, so it’s best to be neutral about how you talk about food. That being said, letting your kids eat sweets all day is also a big no-no.
The solution? Lead by example. Eat healthy foods yourself, and make them tasty. Keep in mind that, yes, kids are far more sensitive to bitter flavours, and take that into consideration when making meals. To really drive home healthy habits, teach them how to cook these meals and have them an active participant in the process.
When there are so many things to do on a gaming console and not enough hours in the day, it can be hard to encourage your kids to be active. Once again, the answer is in leading by example. Plan on family bike rides, hikes, swim days, and so on. Sign them up for fun sports or other activities that keep them in the physical world. Even if they aren’t actively exercising and instead creating art with their hands, they’re still there in the moment and away from screens and the fast-paced information overload that can ruin their ability to concentrate. By bringing them away from screens in fun, enriching ways either as a family or as part of an after-school activity.
Make Room for Mental Health
Mental health is crucial at every age, and the worst thing that you can do is dismiss your child’s concerns just because they’re a kid. They don’t have years of experience or fully understand their emotions and feelings, so when they feel bad, stressed, or anxious, that’s their entire world. It’s big, it’s dramatic, and it’s scary. They need to be able to learn how to talk those feelings through so that they don’t take up so much space. The worst thing you can do is cause them to internalise their feelings. Sharing lightens the load at every age, so make space for mental health and create a relationship where your kids comfortably go to you with their problems.