1. Sleeping Schedule
It is important for your child to get around 10 hours of sleep every night, depending on age. Going to sleep at the same time each evening will help this happen. Stick carefully to this routine and only push back the bed time if it is absolutely necessary. When possible, allow you child to sleep in if they went to bed late.
Sleep is important to health in many ways. It allows your body to recover quickly from illness or fight off potential infections. It also boosts your metabolism. Good sleep can calm your emotions and result in a healthier mindset as well.
- It is recommended that preschoolers get between 10 to 13 hours, elementary.
- Middle-schoolers between 10 to 13 hours.
- Teenagers between 8 to 10 hours.
This is dependent on personal preference as well. Some children simply prefer to sleep more or slightly less than average.
2. Switch Off Screens
When kids spend too much time watching TV, playing video games, or zoning out with a smartphone, odds are they’re doing that instead of something healthier, like being active or getting enough sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time a day for kids ages 2 and older, outside of homework. And children younger than 2 shouldn’t get screen time at all.
To help them cut back, don’t focus on what your kids can’t do but rather on what they can do. For instance, don’t even mention after-school TV. Instead, make a list of activities that they can do when they come home — stuff like dance to some music, play on the backyard playset, ride bikes, or help cook dinner. Then, let them pick something from that list.
The best way to help your child stare at screens less is for you to also limit your time with your phone, computer, or TV. Head outside to play as a family instead.
3. Nutrition And Physical Activity
Children in the United States weigh more than they used to. They may eat too much food that is high in fat and sugar. They spend less time being physically active. Children who struggle with weight have an increased risk of future health problems. These can include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancer.
Pay attention to the kinds of food you buy. Limit the amount of junk food your kids eat. Keep a mix of fresh fruits and vegetables available. These make for healthy snacks and meal sides. Be aware that low-fat foods may contain unhealthy items. They can include added sugar.
Serve a variety of healthy foods and use proper portion sizes. Read the nutrition facts label to find 1 serving size.
Eat meals and snacks together as a family. Eat at the table and not in front of the television.
4. Keep Hydrated
Give your children plenty of water and milk to drink. Put a limit on sweetened and regular-calorie drinks. These include fruit juice, soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened or flavored milk, and sweetened iced tea.
5. Brushing Habits
Also teach your children healthy oral health habits. This includes brushing their teeth twice per day and flossing once per day. Take them to the dentist for regular cleanings every six months.