Raising a child is an art! And when I say this I talk on behalf of all the other parents who have woken up in the dead of night to answer questions. Children are like plain slates that are waiting to be splattered with bright colours. They are little human beings desperately trying to learn about everything around them. A lot of effort, hard work, research and awkward conversations go into raising a child.
The other night my nephew woke me up to ask why he was asked not to wake up people when they are sleeping. One might laugh at the irony of this situation but he was genuinely curious. Fair enough question, but I was too tired to answer.
The world’s changing at a very alarming rate and so are our societies. If you have a child right now, you are old enough to have seen how much has changed in the last decade. And these changes, though impressive are happening really fast. One can see the changing pattern in even the minutest of details. Something as small as what the child wears to something crucial as the smartness of the child.
Technological advancements and pollution have a role to play in the lifestyle we chose for our kids today. Gone are the days when kids could just roam around the neighborhood and eat whatever they wanted. With us Millennials, the value of healthy lifestyles is predominant. We like raising our kids with the same values.
Why is it important to raise health-conscious kids?
The next generation has access to technology and will certainly grow up depending on it a lot. When it comes to food habits, they have access to more junk food than their parents. Today junk food comes cheaper than healthy food, making it a more viable option for people.
It is easier to raise a child with healthy habits than to convince an adult into changing the lifestyle that he/she has practiced for so long. It saves a lot of time and effort for the child once he/she grows up in the world tomorrow.
Here are 6 ways to raise a healthy child:
1. Don’t tell them to clean their plates-
As a parent you want your kid to eat to fill their stomach. We don’t want to overfeed our children. As parents, we have a habit of overfeeding our children. I am not complaining here because this habit is born out of concern. Once the child is old enough to eat by themselves, they have a fair idea of when they are full. Children usually eat more snacks than adults. This could be one major reason why they don’t eat more of the main meals.
In situations like these, you could put effort into sticking to healthier snack options like peanuts, carrots etc.
2. Plan for healthy meals and explain the value of health-
Children are a curious set of people who are open to new things. It is our responsibility as parents to teach them the right values and make them interested in the right things. Because they are unbiased at this stage, it is easier to convince them into believing in good habits. Explain to your kids with the right examples why health should be prioritized. And soon you and your child will be on the same page.
Plan your meals together and include them in meal preparations. This will make them feel more involved in the process and encourage them to experiment. Your kid could come up with his/her version of salad or what things he/she wants to be there in his/her food.
3. Be a good role model –
Children are replicas of their parents. They try to imitate their parents. In situations like these, it is very important to be mindful of your activities. The other day I got a call from my daughter’s school, she used a wrong word that adults use when they are angry. It is certainly not going to work if you drink sodas for breakfast and expect the child to drink milk. As parents, we play a major role in influencing their activities and habits. Healthy eating can gradually become a part of your family’s lifestyle.
4. Make physical activity a fun time-
Kids today are less likely to indulge in physical activities than what we used to be. Earlier there weren’t options of TV or iPads to be glued to. Indulge yourself and your partner in physical activities, this will encourage the child to live a healthy lifestyle. Living by example is one of the best lesson parents should understand. Inculcate good habits in your life if you want the same for your child. It could be anything, starting your mornings with meditation or a jog is a good practice. The child doesn’t have to see this as a task but as a fun activity instead. Including games in form of physical activity is a great way to keep a child interested in physical activities. My daughter and dog both compete against each other every morning when I go for a run.
5. Don’t let them eat in front of the TV and limit usage of appliances-
I have realized that no matter how hard we try to keep our children off technology, it is impossible. Technology will certainly play a major role in the next generation’s lives, but it shouldn’t necessarily have to control them. Don’t allow your child to make a habit including an appliance. For example, I have seen kids who do not eat if there is no iPad in their hands. Parents are certainly to be blamed for this habit. We usually give our appliances to kids to divert them and feed them meanwhile, it seems like an easier way out. Take the child out in nature or tell stories instead. It is wise to limit the time that they spend in front of screens, ask them to play instead.
6. Don’t stop the child from playing in the dirt –
Our world today is obsessed with hygiene. As parents, we douse our children with sanitizers and anti-bacterial lotions each time they go out in the open. This is a very wrong habit though because we are making them more vulnerable to bacteria by doing this. Our human bodies are made in a way to fight the bacteria. It is okay for kids to get their hand dirty in the mud and make dirt tracks. This will keep them closer to nature and their bodies will know how to take care of itself. Sooner or later they will go out in the real world. We can’t go around rubbing lotions on them once they are away. It’s wiser to make their bodies immune to possible bacterial interference.
Growing a child might certainly seem like a task at times. But most times, it feels like sheer joy. The joys of parenthood are countless and something that is very hard to express. But sadly our children grow up pretty soon. I personally devised an excellent strategy to make the best of my kids’ childhood, I make a lot of videos of my children (The human and dog baby). They will stay forever! If you are too busy to be doing it by yourself, hiring a freelancer for the same is a good idea.
Let other people know how you are raising a healthy child!
Arkya executes and strategizes content marketing campaigns at PagePotato. An MBA by education and a designer by heart, he loves analyzing social media trends and likes to read/write on human behavior & managing workspaces. Apart from this, he makes Infographics and Explainer videos on his favorite subjects. He hits the gym daily & in his spare time, he helps upcoming movie makers with script writing.