30 Nov 2017
“Don’t sit on the cat!” “Don’t lick your brother’s feet!” “Don’t put that phone in the toilet!” Don’t, don’t, don’t and don’t. Sometimes we’re so busy telling our kids what not to do, we forget to tell them what they should be doing.
So, in no particular order, here are some healthy habits you and your kids can adopt today.
Yes, it’s nice to blob on the couch and let the world come to you via a TV cable, but more than a few hours of that each day is actually bad for young kids. Sorry, it’s just one of those unfortunate facts that can really interfere with all day The Good Place and Dexter binges. According to the Mayo Clinic (and they should know) kids who watch too much TV can have sleeping problems, weight problems, a disinterest in active play, and underperform at school.
Don’t panic, there is a solution. Kids sleep and when they do, you can watch whatever you want. When they’re awake, keep the TV tuned to kid-appropriate programs for a maximum of two hours per day.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School (and they should know) have found that skipping breakfast is a hop, skip and jump into obesity. In fact, missing breakfast as a habit makes you and your kids four times more likely to resemble an avocado. So kick start the family metabolism with a bit of bonding and fibre every morning.
Sure, you love rugby, but how many times does your ten year old daughter have to catch a rugby ball with her face before she convinces you she prefers ballet. Some kids just don’t get sport. Some do. If your kids are active and trying all kinds of activities, be it sports or hobbies, they’ll soon gravitate to things they love. The key is to give them the space to do that and not play NASA.
A report by The Cleveland Clinic (and they should know) suggests reading to your kids can start at just 6 months of age and be a regular, if not daily/nightly/bedtime event from there. Why? Reading is a bonding and self-esteem building experience for an infant even if they haven’t the faintest idea of what you’re talking about. It’s the best of children’s books that draw them in and has them staring into your eyes with a mix of awe and abject confusion until, over time, the beats become words, the words become sentences and the sentences become stories. That’s when your kids become avid readers and have a wonderful gift for life.
Pretty obvious, but we all do it. We’ve got a glass of coke and our child’s all over us like a baby bird begging for a taste. If we say no, they’ll be on the floor screaming like a banshee moments later. For the sake of their teeth and weight and the avoidance of manic sugar rushes, adopt the mantra ‘Water is good, soft drinks are bad,’ and try to set a good example.
Make eating healthy and fun by mixing in slices of colourful fruit and vegetables. Start imparting the value of healthy foods early.
Make a habit of eating dinner together as often as you can. And that means at a table, not in front of the TV. This evening bonding experience has many benefits; aside from ensuring kids eat well, it helps them develop polite social skills.
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