As parents, it’s our job to make sure that our children are armed with the information they need to make healthy choices and the tools to follow through with their decisions. And that begins by creating a culture of health and safety. Today, Pigtails & Crewcuts takes a look at a few things you can do to give your children a solid foundation for making better decisions for life.
Understand Basic Nutrition
Pediatric TeleCare has discussed the different types of foods children should consume before. But it’s not enough just to say that your kid needs fruits and vegetables. As a parent, you have to understand what these different types of foods are and how they work together within the body. Fruits and vegetables, for example, contain vitamins and minerals while chicken, nuts, beef, and beans are sources of protein, which helps muscles grow.
Showcase Your Good Decisions
Kids see and then kids do – even well into adulthood. If you’re touting the benefits of making healthful decisions while eating a bag of chips and drinking a soda, you’re sending mixed information.
Pay attention to what you do in front of your kids. When you’re watching a movie, skip thepopcorn or chips and soda and instead sip a smoothie or eat an apple or a handful of nuts. Your kids will follow suit, and instead of feeling sluggish and bloated, the healthy snacks they eat will give them energy and nutrients.
An afternoon walk with your kids each day is a great opportunity to both bond and exercise. You can go at a leisurely pace, or you can compete to see who can sprint the quickest to the next mailbox or cross-section. If you’re planning to move in the near future, make sure that your new neighborhood has a walk score of 70 or higher (you can learn more about neighborhood walkability here). As an added bonus, when you live in a walkable area, you rely on your vehicle less, which will help you live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Discuss Online Dangers
According to the International Centre For Missing And Exploited Children, around 460,000 children in the United States go missing each year. Many of these are runaways or abductees whose disappearance was initiated on the internet. Make sure that your children are aware of the dangers of talking to people they don’t know in real life online. Be present when your child is chatting, and don’t be shy about monitoring their social media from your own device.
If a child doesn’t feel they will be heard or supported, they will stop sharing with their caregivers. Help your child know that they are loved and that you are a safe space for sharing their hopes and dreams. One way to do this is to model the behavior.
For instance, if you’ve wanted to teach in various settings, like elementary, secondary, or special education, show your kids the importance of pursuing the degree necessary to achieve that goal. While your child may not follow your path, seeing you follow your dream can help them feel empowered to do the same.
While many of our tips are geared toward older children, it’s important to make sure that babies are safe and healthy as well. Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s recommends babyproofing by building barriers and locking cleaning products, power tools, and other undesirable objects and substances away from the reach of little hands.
You’ll also want to be cautious about who you leave your child in the care of. Ideally, this will be a trusted family member or a licensed and fully compliant childcare center.
Create a Safe and Loving Culture
We want our children to be safe and healthy no matter how old they are or where they might be in life. To do this, we have to give them a solid foundation. This begins by being a role model yourself by making healthy choices in full view of your little ones. You can also lay a foundation for open conversation, bonding, and exercise by simply strapping on your sneakers for an evening walk. If you still need tips, contact Pediatric TeleCare today!
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Thank you to our guest writer on this piece, Lacie Martin, with Raise Them Well. After years of working with children and families, Lacie Martin realized that the most important factor in raising successful children was love. She created Raise Them Well to help inspire parents to prioritize love over everything else.
She believes that all parents who raise children who know they are loved and cared for are successful parents, regardless of their income, education, or background. She offers a variety of resources and support to help parents create a loving and nurturing home environment for their children.
Raise Them Well provides parents with access to information, tools, and strategies to help them:
– Build strong relationships with their children
– Set clear and consistent expectations
– Discipline effectively
– Promote healthy development
– Manage stress and conflict
Lacie is passionate about helping parents raise their children well. She believes that every child deserves to be loved and supported, and she is committed to providing parents with the resources they need to create a loving and nurturing home environment.