Raising a healthy, well-rounded child has never been easy. But with the overabundance of tempting choices in virtually every sphere of life, making good parenting choices is more complicated than ever before.
These days even the most involved parents have some serious competition with junk food, instant meals and too much sugar, salt and unhealthy fats in everything. So how do you win a seemingly unwinnable war? Here are some great suggestions.
Involve the whole family. Getting some fresh air and exercise for at least an hour every day is excellent for everyone irrespective of their age. It might seem like a lot but add it to your day in little spurts, and it gets easier. Walk everywhere, try active sports, swim or put on some music and dance. Do whatever works and keep moving!
Cut down screen time
Take a quick look around, and you will see toddlers who can’t eat without a phone screen and kids who can’t do without their digital games. Apart from the undeniable contribution to obesity and related heart issues and diabetes, children need to learn healthy lifestyle routines early on. Give them options by helping them enrol in a few fun outdoor classes or activities they enjoy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently issued guidelines asking parents to limit screen time until six months and no more than an hour a day for children aged 2-5 years.
Create better food habits.
While it might not always be possible to eat our greens and keep junk food cravings at bay, the trick is to find a balance. Eating more plant-based foods and low-fat dairy can result in better fibre intake and lower cholesterol and fat content. All of these are vital to better heart health in children, especially given the increasing trend of sedentary lifestyle among them.
Stop the second-hand smoke
Smoking is injurious to health. We’ve seen and heard this a million times, but what we don’t realise is that children who are exposed to second-hand smoke have higher chances of contracting heart diseases later on. If you or your loved ones smoke, consider quitting now. It can make all the difference to the health of your kids.
Get your vaccines.
Vaccines protect our children from several infectious diseases. They bolster their immune system and can increase life expectancy in later years. In fact, pre-exposure vaccination of infants is one of the key markers of a successful immunisation programme globally. Vaccine efficacy is the best it has ever been. With India’s push to boost vaccination coverage and subsidise many vaccines like MMR, Polio, Rotavirus and more, there is simply no excuse not to follow the recommended immunisation schedule.
Finally, it is essential to remember that parents play a significant role in the health of their children. They are role models and influencers of the most critical kind. So, by introducing healthy habits early on, you can significantly reduce the risk of childhood obesity and heart disease and build stronger, health-conscious adults.
This is a partnered post.