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Tips for raising healthy children
Whilst caring for the health and wellbeing of your children can be one of the greatest gifts you can give them, it can be challenging in a world of fast food and digitalisation. Building healthy habits early on is the key to establishing a healthy lifestyle for life. Getting kids to practice healthy habits such as eating their veggies, reducing their screen time and establishing a good bedtime routine may make a big impact to their health and wellness.
Nutrition can play a vital role in a child’s wellbeing, as food can have a positive or negative impact on the child’s health. Unfortunately packaged and processed foods can be full of preservatives and sugars.
Teaching them to have a good relationship with food is also an essential part of a healthy diet. Reward good behaviour, good marks or any positive achievement, with affection, quality time or a fun outing.
Expose them to a variety of foods, especially vegetables. This doesn’t mean they will eat them, but you may be surprised at the foods that they enjoy when they are exposed to them. Give your child healthy food choices but instead of asking “would you like carrots with your dinner” you can rephrase it as “would you like carrots or broccoli with your dinner”.
Involve your child in the cooking. Children love to taste what they created. Tell them about the benefits of good food and the importance of good nutrition. This empowers them to make the right choices for themselves.
With the increase of digital devices at home and at school, children are getting less exercise. Sedentary behaviour, relating to regularly sitting down, is the leading cause of chronic lifestyle disorders (such as obesity and diabetes), this is why movement is encouraged in children.1 Children do not need a set of exercise schedule or routine since they can play outside, ride a bike, run around or play a sport. Some children may also need to be encouraged to increase their activity and limit the use of digital devices to only a few hours a day.
Sleep can be important for growing, learning and development in children. Children aged 5- 13 years should have around 9 and 11 hours of sleep each night and 14-17 year old’s between 8 and 10 hours of sleep.2 The importance of regular sleep times also goes far beyond creating good routines, with a study showing that 12- 17 year olds that did not meet the sleep guidelines were more likely to show symptoms of anxiety and depression.2
Healthy habits take time to establish, this is why a consistent message and making healthy choices are a family affair and is the key to raising healthy children to healthy adults.
Blog post written by Complete Corporate Wellness. Visit their website: https://www.completecorporatewellness.com.au/
- Australian Government Department of Health & Australian Bureau of Statistics, “Research and Statistics”, The Australian Government Department of Health, https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-active-evidence.htm
- Australian Government, “Australian teens not getting enough sleep”, Australian Government Australian Institute of Family Studies, https://aifs.gov.au/media-releases/australian-teens-not-getting-enough sleep