As parents we want only the very best for our children. That’s why it is essential to start good habits early in childhood.
Just as we put them in the best schools we know or even set them up to learn a skill or two that they may use when they grow up, to ensure they will prosper as adults.
Experts at the non-profit group Scripps Health in San Diego have listed seven healthy habits that will get your children started on the path to well-being.
Keep it positive. “Helping your children develop a positive attitude can greatly contribute to their well-being throughout their lives and help them build resilience,” says Dr. Kimberly Leek, a pediatrician at Scripps Clinic, Santee. “Tell kids what they can do, not what they can’t, and celebrate successes.”
Studies have also shown that children with a positive outlook have a long-term advantage over children hwo have a negative outlook.
The American Psychological Association, in a study, states that teaching children to have resilience, positive emotions, and a sense of purpose will help them curb depression, maintain a positive outlook on life, and improve their capacity to learn.
Limit screen time. IN these days of never-ending technology, children are growing up glued to a screen whether it be their computer, their smartphones, or television.
The experts at Scripps also suggest encouraging play time for children as extended periods of exposure to media can lead to a sedentary lifestyle.
More research conducted by the University of British Columbia concluded that playing outdoors as children can be a good way to instill in them a love of nature and the environment, with 84 percent of participants who played outside as children indicating that taking care of the environment was one of their priorities as adults.
Read with your child every day. Experts say that reading with babies and children are key factors in building language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that are important at this stage of development.
It should also be noted that studies have found reading to babies born prematurely aids in critical brain development is occurring, including the development of the pathways that control language skills.
By reading to their babies, parents are not only bonding with them and reducing some of the stress of being in the NICU, but they’re also aiding in their children’s brain development.
“More than half of babies born at very low birth weight have language delays during childhood,” says Carmina Erdei, MD, a neonatologist in the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “This is not a coincidence, and there is something we can do about it.”
Make meals a colorful collage. According to experts at Scripps Health, meal times need not be a dreary affair by putting a splash of color in their plates.
It is also a way to help them eat healthy too – as this brightly-colored food can be fruits and vegetables in season.
Studies have also shown that preparation method and serving style can have long-term effects on a child’s eating behavior, especially when it comes to vegetables.
It’s also another opportunity for parents to have special bonding time and is encouraging your child’s creativity.
Eat breakfast. A balanced breakfast with protein is a sure-fire way for your children to have a good day.
Studies have also correlated breakfast with academic behavior.
A study published in the National Institutes of Health stated that a regular, healthy breakfast is beneficial to a child’s academic performance, especially for younger children.
Enjoy physical activities. The American Heart Association (AHA) lists physical inactivity as a contributing factor to the development of heart disease later in life.
Likewise, increased physical activity in children can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
The AHA suggests at least 60 minutes of fun, moderate-intensity activity each day for children.
Parents should also take part in these activities and function as role models.
Read food labels. Educate your children about proper nutrition by taking the time to read food labels together.
Focus on important aspects of the label such as the amount of sugar, saturated fat, calories and serving size.