Family, General

Happy and Healthy: Helping Kids Thrive

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Our number one concern as parents is to keep our children safe and happy, and from the moment they are born we have an overwhelming urge to protect this little person. At the same time, we’re not always sure of exactly what to do, or how to do it.

There’s plenty to think about when it comes to our children’s health- here are a few areas to consider.

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Diet

When we grow up, we learn how to tolerate foods we’re not particularly keen on because we know they’re good for us. But kids can’t and won’t do this, so if they don’t like something it can be a struggle getting them to eat it. Putting on pressure and getting annoyed can often make the situation worse.

It’s frustrating as parents when we know they need these things to grow and thrive but won’t eat them, but there are ways around it. Hiding healthy foods is one option. For example, not all kids will sit and eat a bowl of fruit and vegetables but many will sip on a smoothie for breakfast. Along with some berries and banana, throw in a handful of spinach. The taste isn’t detectable but it will pack a punch with nutrition.

Use a food processor to blitz mushroom, carrot, courgette and other veggies and cook it up with the ground meat. It will be fully disguised but means you can use less meat and boost their vegetable intake.

Keep trying different things, if they reject them don’t make a big deal out of it. Try again in a month or two as their tastes can change and develop. Be conscious of their diet young, don’t reward them with unhealthy food or treats and make eating fresh and healthy ingredients completely normal.

Exercise

Kids are naturally very energetic, so it shouldn’t be difficult to help them achieve the sixty minutes of moderate to intense exercise a day. Take them to the park to run around and burn off steam, play with a football or Frisbee or make up a game. Take them to a trampoline park or bouncy castle, ride bikes or have a water fight. It doesn’t need to be a set exercise like swimming or sports, it can be anything that gets them playing and running around. The more fun you make it the better.

Health Conditions

Most health conditions develop as we get older, however, that’s not to say all children are healthy and many do have conditions that they’re born with or develop in childhood. Cancers, bone conditions, organ problems and much more can occur.

Most of us are very overprotective of our children and will seek medical advice when our child is unwell. But don’t feel bad for doing this, better to put your mind at ease and potentially catch any health conditions early.

Protection From Accidents

Parenting is the finding the right balance between wanting to wrap our kids up in cotton wool, and giving them the freedom to learn, explore and do things alone- even if it does mean a few bumps and scrapes along the way.

Follow precautions, when they’re on bikes, roller skates or skateboards they should be wearing a helmet. Keep sharp objects, medicine, and chemicals in a safe place- either in a cupboard with a latch or on a high up shelf. The last thing you want is to end up in the emergency room, particularly if an accident could have been avoided. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, so it’s worth being cautious.

Mental Health

Mental illnesses aren’t something we associate with children, but psychologists have shown that they can and do suffer from them. And think about it, life is stressful for young children. Starting school, learning new things and being introduced to all kinds of new situations. Be gentle and give plenty of praise to children, let them know they can speak to you about anything.

Raising kids is tough. With a community of support behind you though, it’s doable. It truly does take a village.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard or received regarding raising kids?

Happy and Healthy: Helping Kids Thrive - The Southern Smiths: Tips on dealing with your children's diet, exercise, mental health and more!