I know when it comes to parenting one of my main concerns is creating healthy habits for my daughter (and soon to be son!) I want to teach them right from wrong but also how to respect themselves and others. UGH, I know it’s such a young age to be worrying about this however I do. It’s who I am. So I read. And I read. And I read more. One of my favorite Parenting magazines of NH had an article in back in the fall when the kiddo’s went back to school and I thought it would be a good topic to write about.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, students’ academic achievement and their health are directly correlated. As you head into this school year, use these tips to teach new healthy habits that can become a way of life for the whole family.
Germ-Free Hands. One of the most significant – and simple – health habits to teach is washing hands. Kidshealth.org, a website filled with family-friendly health tips, calls hand washing the first line of defense to keep germs at bay.
To help youngsters learn the habit, enforce rules for the entire family. Insist on washing hands before every meal, after using the bathroom, after handling pets, after cleaning chores, after playing outside, and, of course, after blowing noses, sneezing and coughing. Several brands have created kid-friendly soap dispensers that are both fun and functional to inspire little ones to participate.
Now that Madison is getting old enough to understand more and getting more ready to potty train, I’m starting to teach her about “Clean Hands”. I wash my hands every time I go to the bathroom, and since this little one has insisted on going in with me every time I go since she was able to walk, I let her see me wash my hands afterwards. I let her see me wash my hands a lot while I cook and after I change her diaper, she tends to like to do what I do so little by little she wants “Clean Hands” too!
Food as Fuel. Mornings may be hectic, but avoid the temptation to take shortcuts on breakfast. Kids need fuel to power through the day. Making breakfast part of the daily routine is also important for weight management. A nutritious morning meal helps fire up the metabolism, and it helps prevent over-eating to compensate for a hungry tummy later in the day.
The experts at kidshealth.org recommend selecting foods that contain whole grains, fiber and protein with little added sugar in order to improve kids’ attention span, concentration and memory.
I’m pretty strict when it comes to food (ask my husband) I’m not a fan of the sugary cereals I ate while growing up. When I think back on it I’m kind of surprise my mother was OK with us eating them because I always thought she was “strict”. I don’t even want it in the house because she will always “prefer” that over cherios or raisin bran! I make my own muffins every week so they won’t be processed and will contain whole wheat and real fruit. On the days she doesn’t go to school I try to make her eggs and serve it with a fruit. When we are on the go she loves her muffins and I she also loves her nutrigrain bars too! I wonder why my daughters digestive system is “so good” well now that I’m writing this I’m realizing we serve a lot of fruit LOL!! 🙂
Sound Slumber. Although nap times gradually diminish as children grow older, adequate sleep is still critically important. Too little sleep translates into irritability and other behavior problems, as well as difficulty paying attention in school. While the specific needs of each child will vary to some degree, school-age children and preteens should get between 10 and 12 hours of sleep each night. Implementing a consistent bedtime, especially on school nights, can help ensure your child’s sleep needs are consistently met. Be sure to build in time for children to unwind before bed to help keep that nightly target on track with less stress for all involved.
Another area I’ve been pretty strict with. I hesitate in sharing my routine with you because I may be known as the mom from hell because I’ve been this strict from day one. Madison has always been a great sleeper, maybe I got lucky who knows but since she was 6 months old I’ve done the same thing as far as a nap and bed time is concerned. I love my sleep, which in return means my children have to love their sleep too. Our bedroom is off limits for her. We love snuggle time and at one point we got in the habit of snuggling on the bed (not in bed) however it created tantrums because she wanted to jump and play on the bed so when I was trying to get out the door in the morning she would have a melt down because she wanted to jump and play. From that point on I realized our bedroom is NOT a place for my kids. It’s our retreat end of story. Don’t panic, I don’t kick her out when she comes running in in the morning after Daddy has changed her, I just get up and go snuggle in the Family Room. Nap time is a must here. Even though she’s gone through spurts of not napping (I assume the were growth spurts) she still needs down time, so she goes in her bed everyday around 12-1230 and stays in there for 1-2 hours whether she sleeps or not. It gives me a chance to shower, clean up and rest myself. Though I know that time is limited I’m going to keep it up while I can. I always said I wouldn’t be that parent that worked her schedule around a nap or bed time…………well guess what??? Again one of those circumstances that I look back on and laugh because I’ve come to realize it’s just another part of parenthood.
Balanced Immune System. Believe it or not, 70 percent of your immune system is in your digestive tract. The immune cells in the digestive tract share their space with a community of over 500 species of naturally-occurring bacteria. Keeping these bacteria in balance is what’s important to boosting digestive and immune health. Taking a daily probiotic helps boost your immune system by keeping these bacteria in balance.
Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria that help balance the digestive system. Yogurt is a common source of probiotics, but many varieties contain a significant amount of sugar that may be off-putting, especially if you are aiming for a daily dose. However, there are products available, such as Sustenex Probiotic Gummy Bears and Soft Chews, which offer a lower calorie alternative for a daily dose of probiotics while also appealing to picky eaters and lactose intolerant youngsters. To learn more, visit www.sustenex.com.
Maybe this would explain why my Immune system is so crappy, my digestive system is even worse LOL! This one is a tough one for me because I’ve always had a bad immune system, no matter what I’ve done. I heat some what healthy. Well not when I’m pregnant 🙂 I did just start my daughter on a daily multi vitamin, I’ve always been horrible at taking vitamins myself, again because, it’s something that never helped my immune system. This winter hit me and my family pretty bad, my daughter started a new daycare, I figured it was a good time to start taking vitamins. What doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for my daughter.