I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the healthiest person in the world, far from it but my main goal is to make sure that we have healthy children. Little Leg’s is the complete opposite of me when I was younger, she has joined every after school activity club that she can and absolutely loves sports. But it’s not always easy, there are days when she wants to do absolutely nothing, there are days when she will refuse to eat certain foods and I’m guessing that as a parent, I’m not alone.
Make Dinner a Family Affair
- Try to have dinner together as a family, sometimes I know it’s not possible to all sit around the table together due to working hours etc but we aim for three times a week.
- Getting your children involved in the meal planning and making process can be a fun learning experience for them too. They might be more likely to eat their meals and try new foods if they have had some involvement.
- Inform your children of healthy choices, planting vegetables, herbs and growing your own fruit can be a great way to get children excited and involved.
Our daughter, Little Legs is now 7 and every Sunday she picks out a meal from her children’s cookbook. She makes a shopping list of ingredients and then prepares a meal (sometimes with a little help). She’s learning about nutrition and healthy foods from a young age.
Activities to Encourage Healthy Children
- Let your child experiment with different activities, they will find something that they really enjoy doing. We’re lucky in that Little Leg’s is very active (sometimes I do wonder where she gets all of her energy from). She takes part in a lot of after school sports, dance classes, martial arts, swimming and even Brownies. We support and encourage these activities but we never force them on her. If she decides that one of these classes aren’t for her then we are happy for her to drop them. There’s no point in her taking part if she isn’t happy
- Plan for family time together, take walks, go on bike rides or even go swimming together. We discovered a love for hiking a few years ago, it allows us to visit places we’ve never been before.
- Check your local park to see if they hold any activities, things like park runs, sports clubs, holiday clubs etc. They are often free.
- Try to make activities fun for them, things like using a pedometer is a great way to encourage your children to keep moving. Make targets for them, they can compete between siblings etc
At the weekends Little Leg’s is always the first to ask to go mountain biking with her dad, she would spend the whole day out on the trails if she could. You may have read in one of our previous blog posts that Little Leg’s will be completing the Simplyhealth Junior & Mini Great Manchester Run this month. Running is something that she has recently gotten in to and she even drags her dad out him out in the mornings before school and evenings for a little run. She doesn’t see these activities as being exercise, they are fun and she really enjoys them.
Caring For Their Eyesight
It is important to remember too that you need to do everything you can to look after your child’s eyesight. Their sight is actually a very important and central part of their overall health, and related directly to many other aspects of health, so make sure you are not overlooking this. You should:
- Ensure you take them for regular check-ups with the optometrist.
- If necessary, get them the best glasses you can afford, ideally from a trusted source like Eyeglasses.com.
- Encourage good behaviour that will help their eyes to be stronger for longer – such as avoiding overusing screens.
- Pay attention to any complaints of pain or eye strain.
Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep
- Making sure your child gets enough sleep at night is a vital way of keeping your child healthy.
- Sometimes that is easier said than done but try to limit screen time on electronic devices before bed to help them sleep. Encourage down time and include things like reading before bed. Little Leg’s enjoys a half hour of reading in bed before she will sleep.
- Try to stick to a bedtime routine, even on the weekends.