Here are ten things you can do to keep your kids healthy and happy in 2019:
1. Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is important for the whole family since it helps set our metabolism and resets our mood. Getting enough sleep is especially important for kids because it helps them grow. According to pediatrician and author Cara Natterson, if you are having trouble putting your kids to bed at night, emphasize that they will grow well when they sleep. "If your kids know that they grow when they sleep, they will put themselves to bed. I guarantee you," she says.
2. Use the 80-20 Rule for Healthy Eating
Robyn O'Brien, author of the best-selling book "The Unhealthy Truth," urges parents to recognize that they will not be able to control 100 percent of what their child eats. "Don't make perfect the enemy of good," she advises. "80 percent of the time, you try to do the best that you can. And then the other 20 percent of the time, you have to have the grace and flexibility to live in the real world, to know that these kids go to birthday parties. They're going to get stuff at school, and to be able to roll with that."
3. Explain Why Healthy Eating is Important
Instead of telling children to eat healthy foods, explain to them why it is important. If they know that certain foods will make them taller and stronger, or make their hair shinier, they will want to eat them. "Kids' relationship with food gets increasingly complicated as they get older," says Natterson. "If you start when they're very young by teaching them that food is about growing healthy and having energy to get through the day and fueling their brain, then you're teaching them everything they need to know for the rest of their life."
4. Create Fun Opportunities for Exercise
Exercise is important for bone and muscle health, for creating positive emotions, alleviating stress and preventing diseases later in life. Most kids need about an hour of exercise each day. For kids dealing with control or focus issues (ADD, ADHD, or OCD), Dr. John Ratey recommends involving them in martial arts or ballet because "you get the benefit of the exercise, plus the focus and training for the attention system." Another benefit of exercise is that it has a positive effect on test scores. "We see scores go up with more time spent in exercise and less time spent on subjects," he says.
5. Teach Them to Hydrate
Our brains are 80 percent water, so hydration is extremely important, especially for growing little ones. A great way to teach your kids to stay hydrated is to have them look at their pee. Being hydrated means drinking enough so that your pee looks like water. Natterson tells kids, "Look at your pee. And if it's really yellow, go get a glass of water."
6. Open Your Windows
The air we breathe can have a profound effect on our mood and cognitive abilities, so it is important to keep it clean. Sometimes the air in our homes can be even more polluted than the air outside. Gigi Lee Chang, former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, recommends opening windows, using fans and vents, and having indoor plants in the home to help clean and circulate the air.
7. Limit Their Sugar Intake
Finally, if you want to prevent your kids from getting sick this winter, try to minimize the amount of sugar in their diet. According to Dr. Jay Gordon, sugar interferes with the body's immune system by binding up the antibodies that the immune system needs to fight viruses. "A kid who's eating a high sugar diet is going to get sick more often," he says.
8. Happy Parents= Happy Children
Admit it, you love to see your kids happy; your home is filled with photos of your smiling children; you see their grinning faces peering out from computer screens, book shelves, even your refrigerator door.
It’s a universal truth that every parent loves to see his or her children happy. But when it comes to raising happy children, you’ll soon find yourself sorting through mountains of complex and conflicting advice.
The best advice anyone could give you is to do what you feel is right. If you are happy and have a positive attitude that will be passed onto your children.
9. Teach your kids about the environment
Children are our future. That future can be bold and beautiful or dark and dreary. You mean the difference between a generation of environmental leaders who love and respond the environment, making choices to live, work and play in a way that respects our natural spaces. Follow these simple tips to teach environmental lessons to the children in your life.
Lead by example- Have you heard that a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, an action is worth millions. The same way your kids could learn an inappropriate behavior can be used to develop environmental awareness.
Take your kids outside- Learning to enjoy nature is the first step to care about it. Also, ask your doctor if more outdoor activities could improve your health? Studies show it could reduce obesity and others diseases.
Teach children to use the appropriate receptacle for their waste-reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can. Little things, like packing a waste-free lunch, can make a powerful lesson for your children, especially in these difficult times of plastic.
Useful tip: get a favorite character reusable lunch bag, fork and spoon that your child can reuse.
Give them chores- like helping you classify your recyclables. As a reward, they can save money earned by recycling to buy a cool toy.
Work together in a garden or compost project- If you can’t, buy one plant for them to learn to take care of; it’s a fun way to learn how plants need sun, water and soil. Use your senses, and enjoy the flowers. Take them to a compost garden to see the worms in action.
10. Make sunscreen a priority
From an early age it is so important that sun-screen in made a priority and part of your everyday routine. Useful tip: Keep a small rollable stick of sunscreen in your purse to make it easier to remember to put sunscreen on the entire family when you are spending a day in the sun. Wintertime can be deceiving because you may not think to pack the sunscreen along, but it is just as important to apply it on wintery days as it is in the summertime.
What are your pro tips for keeping your kids healthy and happy?