How to Raise a Healthy Kid – 8 Things You Need To Do

Clean Dirty Surfaces and Wash Their Hands Regularly

toddler-hand-washEven though you wash your hands regularly, germs are always around us. At work, for instance, we’re still, albeit inadvertently, transferring bacteria from our computer keyboard or mobile phones to our mouths as we snack at our desks. Germs will invariably find their way to you.

Recently, a group of researchers found that pets, coughing & sneezing kids often get a bad rap for spreading germs and infection. Instead, our hands are the number 1 culprit.

We unwittingly transfer germs collected by our hands into our bodies when we touch our mouths, our eyes, or our noses. Because this happens so often and unknowingly, the goal should be not to touch our faces less, but to reduce the germs, we come into contact with.

Surfaces such as our phones, laptop keyboards, toys, and the door handle just to name a few, harbor lots of germs. Wipe these surfaces down regularly, and clean your kid’s hands just as frequently.

Eat Lots of Fruits & Vegetables

fruit-vegetablesAccording to research, five servings of fruits and vegetables is not only good for the heart but is also an excellent way to keep cancer at bay and maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately, this research will do little to persuade kids hell-bent on avoiding broccoli, on having some for dinner.

The benefits of eating fruits and vegetables need to be taught over time. When kids dislike something, it’s often due to unfamiliarity. Having said that, feed your kids fruits and vegetables regularly. It may take a few tries, but they’ll eventually learn to love it.

Always Vaccinate On Schedule

vaccination-kidIf you’re on schedule, your 2-year-old should have had up to 24 vaccinations (Ouch). Knowing this, it’s no surprise some parents delay certain shots.

For instance, my son was due for an HPV shot, but my busy schedule got in the way of the 3 vaccinations. However, upon further consultation, I vowed to make the time.

I learned that these vaccines are set during a critical window when they are going to be most effective – around the time when their immune system is working well enough to fight disease effectively, but right before they are susceptible to any dangerous conditions.

The vaccines may not be as effective if you don’t follow the set routine. Also, your kids are a lot more prone to side effects of the vaccine, so please ensure you are always on schedule.

Always Brush With Fluoride.

teeth-hygiene-iconsTooth decay can cause a world of suffering for kids & adults alike. Poor eating, pain, lack of sleep… issues that can be solved by just making sure your kids brush their teeth with fluoride.

Fluoride helps to protect and maintain the protective enamel on your pearly whites. As soon as your kids have teeth, have them brush with fluoride at least two times a day. This way, their teeth will be clean and healthy for years to come.

Put Them To Bed Early Enough.

sleeping-babyEvery parent has delayed bedtime by at least a few minutes to *gasp* several hours. I’ve been guilty of it if only to spend a few more precious minutes with them.

By being at work, I hardly get to see them as often. But by delaying bedtime, I’m not doing my kids any favors. According to research, kids who don’t get to sleep for the recommended 9 hours or more get bad grades at school and often become hyperactive.

According to a recent study, kids who often went to bed after 9am also displayed truancy issues. Additionally, sleep deprivation has been linked to overeating and obesity. However, once the early bedtimes resume, the behavior problems disappeared despite the kid’s age. Ensure your child not only gets enough zzz’s but goes to bed early enough as well.

Parents often underestimate the amount of sleep that their kids need. Including naps, toddlers need about 10 – 15 hours of sleep a day. Preschoolers, on the other hand, need to sleep for between 10 to 14 hours, while children in kindergarten or later need to sleep for 9 to 11 hours.

To meet this sleep requirement, make sure you’re done with your entire bedtime routine (cuddles, bedtime stories, etc) sometime before 9 pm, to give your babies enough time to fall asleep & sleep for an adequate amount of time.

Insist On Wearing The Right Gear

bicycling-KidWearing the correct gear can keep your kids safe from dangerous, life-threatening injuries. For instance, in a surprising statistic from Safe Kids Worldwide, we learned that less than half of all the kids in the USA wear helmets and a third of those who do wear them incorrectly.

As a parent, always insist that your child has on protective gear such as the right helmet, catchers gear, and the right cleats. Remember to set an example by always wearing protective equipment. Websites such as The Bat Nerds go a long way in helping parents pick out the right gear for their kids.

Always Use Sunscreen.

fun-toes-babyExposure to the sun is dangerous to all of us, but kids are especially susceptible to sun damage to their skin due to harmful ultraviolet radiation. Also, children whose skin cells get damaged by the sun have a higher risk of contracting skin cancer later on in life because their skin is much thinner than an adult’s.

If your child is under 6 months, try and keep them away from direct sunlight as much as you can. For babies older than this, always apply sunscreen to their skin before taking them out in the sun.

Strap Them In Safely.

dump-boys-workshop-mechanicsAccording to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), 75% of kids riding in cars aren’t correctly strapped in.

Please read your car seat manual and ensure that your baby is properly strapped into their infant car seat, convertible car seat or booster seat before you set off on a drive.