Every parent wants to do whatever they can to keep their children safe and healthy. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done, though.
If you want to stay on top of your child’s well-being but aren’t sure where to start, give these four tips a try today.
1. Make Sure Their Diet is Healthy and Balanced
In order to feel their best, your kids need to be eating a nutrient-dense, balanced diet. The Department of Health and Human Services currently defines a healthy diet as one that is comprised primarily of the following food groups:
Protein: Can be found in lean meat and poultry, seafood, beans, eggs, peas, and soy products
Fruit: Aim to get fruit from fresh, frozen, dried, or canned sources, rather than fruit juice
Vegetables: Aim for a mix of colorful vegetables from fresh, frozen, dried, or canned sources – think red bell peppers, orange carrots, white cauliflower, purple eggplant, dark green spinach, etc.
Grains: Opt for whole grains like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and quinoa, rather than white bread or pasta
Dairy: Can be found in milk, cheese, or yogurt
Healthy fats: Can be found in nuts, avocados, seafood, olives, and olive oil
You should also work on limiting the calories your child consumes from the following sources:
Added sugars, especially brown sugar, corn syrup, and corn sweetener
Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to upgrading your child’s diet, consider these tips:
Take your kids to a local farmer’s market and let them pick out fruits and vegetables themselves
Make healthy snacks readily available
Use smoothies to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption (just don’t add extra sweeteners)
Model good eating habits by making healthy choices yourself
2. Teach Them to be Social Media Savvy
The internet and social media are a part of life for children these days. There’s no getting around it. Instead of banning them from the computer, work to teach your kids how to intelligently navigate online channels.
Some tips for accomplishing this include:
Encourage kind behavior and make it clear that they should never post hurtful messages about others
Teach them to think twice before posting
Encourage them to report bullying or harassment from others
Make sure your children understand privacy and teach them to never share passwords with anyone
Discourage “friending” anyone they don’t know in real life
3. Invest in an Intercom System
An intercom system is a great health and home safety tool that makes it easy for you to monitor and connect with your kids.
Many intercom systems come with a video function that allows you to see what your kids are up to no matter where they are in the house.
You can also connect the intercom to the doorbell so that your kids can check and find out who is at the door before they open it. This is an especially useful tool for kids who are home alone for a portion of the day.
4. Make Sure They Stay Active
Children are significantly less active than they used to be. This lack of activity is contributing to increased rates of childhood obesity.
To counteract these negative effects, make sure you’re encouraging your child to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
They should also aim for at least 60 minutes of muscle and bone strengthening activities like gymnastics, running, or jump roping each week.
If you’re having a hard time getting and keeping your kids active, consider these tips:
Get involved yourself and model an active lifestyle
Make physical activity part of your family’s routine with regular walks or active games
Take your kids to parks or the local community center so they have equipment that promotes physical activity
Encourage your kids to try new activities and sign them up for classes or local sports teams
Praise their effort, rather than their athletic performance
It’s not always easy to change your family’s lifestyle. But, when it comes to your children’s health and safety, the effort is absolutely worth it. Start by just making these four changes and remember to be patient — if you’re consistent in your efforts, your hard work will eventually pay off.