It isn’t long after you’ve brought a child into the world that the child begins to make his or her personality known. You may be caught unawares when that tiny child’s opinions (and choices) disagree with yours. But when it’s your job to teach this little person how to make healthy choices, it’s a fine line to walk between encouraging and dictating. For some help along the way, Nurturey offers the following advice for parents
- Be a good role model. If you want to teach your children healthy eating habits, eat a salad or grab fruit for dessert. Choose activities over couch-potatoing. Read a book instead of playing a video game. If your kids call you out on a bad decision, own it and then show them it’s okay to slip up now and then as long as it doesn’t become a habit.
- Seize teachable moments. Include your kids in meal prep, and show them how you sub in healthier ingredients like olive oil for higher-fat, less healthy choices (like butter). Encourage your kids to sniff your spice rack and develop a taste for flavours besides salt or sugar. Guide them to prepare simple, healthy dishes themselves, from choosing the recipes to buying ingredients at the store, making the dish, and serving it to the family. You’ll foster their self-confidence and pride, too.
- Know your kid. Have a kid who doesn’t like to be told what to do? Give them options — and make sure you’re okay with whatever choice they pick. Have a kid who’d rather play Minecraft than ride a bike? Find other activities he likes that get him moving.
- Be positive. Answer “yes” whenever you can. When she asks to watch her favourite show, say, “Sure, after you’ve played outside for 20 minutes.” You can also set a timer. If he really wants that salty snack, suggest he munch on a crunchy vegetable first, and if he’s still hungry, he can have a small portion of chips.
- Pick meaningful rewards. Don’t reward your kids for a job well done with sugary treats or screen time. Find other ways — a trip to the movies or spending quality time together, for example — to celebrate good choices and good behaviour.
- Encourage getting active. If your family doesn’t spend a lot of time staying active, now’s the chance to do something about it. Find out what sports your children enjoy and figure out ways to get them actively involved.
- Be realistic in your expectations. Little steps and gradual changes add up over time, so set reasonable, achievable goals and celebrate them when they’ve achieved.
A Stress-Free Home for Everyone
A 2018 poll revealed that over 82 per cent of Brits said their mood suffered due to an abundance of clutter. So if your home’s becoming a candidate for the television series Hoarders, create a work crew of yourself and kids to sort belongings to keep, toss, and donate. Other ways to combat stress at home include deep cleaning your home together, helping every family member carve out a space to retreat, adjusting the lighting, and even adding some air-purifying plants.
Extra Safety Measures
Kids are curious and the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy isn’t quite enough, especially when they get older. Beads, charging/power cords, outlets, button-sized batteries, loose change, humidifiers, plants, plastic bags, laundry detergent pods, and candles pose hazards for young kids. Be sure to keep anything that could prove harmful out of arm’s reach.
Medicine and Vitamin Safety Tips
Pills look like candy. Store them out of sight in kid-proof containers. Include products like diaper cream, eye drops, asthma inhalers in this list! For other suggestions, check out these safety tips from Safe Kids.
Guiding your kids to make healthy choices starts early and often. Use teachable moments throughout the day and week, and you’ll help them develop healthy habits to last a lifetime.
To make it easier to navigate your child’s health from pregnancy to preschooler, check out Nurturey PinkBook, the smartest digital upgrade for the NHS paper red book. This provides the digital tools you need to manage and stay on top of your child’s health.