Children nowadays frequently get sick, especially during school days. Increasing pollution, population and climate change is turning out to be a big challenge for developing countries. Growing children are vulnerable to diseases due to their developing immune systems. Preventing children from vector diseases like dengue and malaria is another challenge. Making matters worse, easy access to junk food and rise in information technology is causing children to be less active, inviting sickness.
So, what are some of the basic things we can do to keep children healthy? Children are playful in nature, therefore we must send them outside to play with their friends. Physical movement is very important in maintaining the weight of children. We should encourage them to participate in physical activities, including simple activities like taking a walk, going swimming, riding a bike. We should also motivate them to try group activities, such as team sports or martial arts. These will help a child’s growth and self-esteem.
We also learned that washing hands was the most effective method of warding off viral diseases during COVID-19 times. Therefore, it is necessary to teach them to wash hands before eating meals, after going to the bathroom, after coughing and after returning home from outside. Children should soap up their hands for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol based sanitizer can also be provided to children to keep them safe.
We must encourage our children to eat balanced diet food. Food is an important aspect of children’s growth, so we must discourage them from consuming trans-fat, sugary and high calorie junk foods. Children should eat food that is rich in protein, calcium, carbohydrate, zinc and fibre, among many other good chemicals needed for children's growth. They should be given plenty of water and milk to stay hydrated. Children can build good habits by doing their own grocery shopping where they learn to pick healthy items like fruits and vegetables for snacking.
We should also monitor our children's screen time activities. Experts say that we should limit our children to only 2 hours of screen time daily. Parents should be concerned about what they watch on the television, computer, tablets, mobiles and video games. Adults should make sure that children get enough sleep and plenty of rest. This is also an important aspect of children's good health. Therefore, guardians must teach their children healthy habits and do regular health check-ups to ensure they are healthy.
Habits of a parent or caregiver also have a lasting effect on children’s physical and mental health. Parents should themself eat healthy food, do physical activities and spend quality time with their children. Children generally tend to copy their adults, so parents should be a good role model and show them a healthy path in life.
Finally, children need support for their mental and emotional health. This includes giving them confidence in building self-esteem, engaging in responsive relationships and feeling loved and respected. Parents should not fight, shout and argue in front of their children. They should listen to their children's problems and keep them in check every now and then because traumatic and stressful childhood experiences can put children at great emotional and mental health risks. Therefore, it is vital that parents and guardians monitor their children’s health to help them grow happily.