3 Simple Ways to Boost Your Child’s Health – No cost involved!
As a parent, all you want is for your child to be healthy and happy. And while there are a lot of fancy ways to do this, sometimes it’s the simple things that can make all the difference.
Teaching your child some simple but healthy habits while they’re young can be a huge benefit to them for years to come.
1. Let them sleep
As adults, we know how awful we feel when we don’t get enough sleep. Our brain is foggy, we can’t concentrate and we’re often grumpy as a result. This is no different for our children, and getting adequate sleep is so important and can be a simple way to boost your child’s health.
It is recommended that preschool children (aged 3-5) get between 10-13 hours of sleep a night, and school aged children (aged 6-13) should aim for 9-11 hours of shuteye.
It was reported that only 31% of school aged children are actually getting the recommended nightly duration of healthy sleep.
The benefits of adequate sleep are many – from better performance at school to a stronger immune system (think fewer colds and sick days) to better behaviour – since a well-rested child is able to better regulate their mood.
Tips for Helping your kids Sleep Better:
- Create a specific bedtime routine that you follow every night. Kids thrive on routine and their body will naturally start to wind down in anticipation of the bedtime rituals.
- Avoid anything too stimulating before bedtime. Reduce screen time; avoid difficult conversations and stimulating foods (such as caffeine or sugar) within 1-2 hours before bed.
- Check their surroundings. Avoid having screens of any kind in your child’s room, make sure the temperature is comfortable (~24 degrees C) and reduce excessive noise (TV’s, dishwashers etc.) that can be heard from their room.
Orange Naturals recommends Sleep Tight for Kids.
2. Get your kids moving!
In the publication “Are Canadian Kids Too Tired to Move?” by ParticipACTION, it was reported that only 9% of kids are getting the recommended amount of daily exercise.
The new Movement Guidelines for Children & Youth suggest that children aged 5 -17 should achieve an accumulation of at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. This can be done all at once or in little chunks throughout the day.
The benefits of exercise for kids:
- They’ll sleep better
- Exercise creates stronger muscles and bones
- Decreased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes
- Boosts their mood naturally and helps them to regulate their behaviour
If you’ve ever noticed your child getting a little antsy when they’ve spent a lot of time indoors, then you can fully appreciate these benefits.
They have so much energy and need to move on a regular basis in order to feel their best. As parents, helping your child get adequate physical activity is essential, and it doesn’t have to be hard!
How to help your kids get more active:
- Organized sports (like hockey, soccer, baseball, etc) but you can also just encourage your child to play more, especially outdoors
- Go on family walks, bike rides during warmer weather, and when temperatures are a bit cooler, try ice skating or a family tobogganing trip
- Lead by example — kids are more likely to do something they see you doing. Talk to your kids about why you also make exercise a priority, how it benefits you as an adult, and commit to setting this example for them.
3. Focus on the habits
Teaching our children healthy habits while they’re young will not only make them healthier now, it will also set them up for success in adulthood. Practicing these habits consistently makes them easy to stick with.
In addition to a sleep routine, regular physical activity, and healthy food choices, stress management tools are also great habits to start teaching your child today.
Here are a few ways to teach your child healthy lifestyle habits:
- Provide meals and snacks at regular intervals (aim for 3 meals and 2 snacks a day). Not only will regular meals (filled with whole foods, like fruits and veggies) keep your child nourished, it will help to regulate their appetite, hunger, mood and energy levels.
- Orange Naturals recommends Kids Multi — an active body needs the right kind of balanced fuel.
- Eat your veggies too. Again, leading by example and showing your children that you also enjoy eating healthy foods. Talk about how these foods make your body feel and what the nutrients do for us. Try to eat together as a family as much as possible and keep mealtime fun and relaxed.
- To create a healthy mind, encourage your child to talk about their feelings – both good and bad. Create a space where they can be open and honest and not feel judged.
- Just RELAX from time to time. Teach your child how to minimize stress by giving them time to just be kids. Avoid overscheduling them and let them play and explore things that they are exciting to them.
A happy kid is a healthy kid!
For more recommendations on keeping the family healthy, visit these links: