As adults, it is our responsibility to ensure that our kids and the youngers in our communities grow up with healthy habits. After all, we teach them everything about surviving in this world, and the fostering of proper hygiene and selfcare habits is imperative if you want your children to stay healthy. Here are a few of the most important habits you should be instilling from childhood onwards:
So simple, yet so effective. Hand-washing has been shown to be one of the most efficient ways of staving off infectious disease. It’s particularly important during the cold and flu season, when contact contamination can lead to some nasty upper airway infections, chills and body aches. Teach your children to wash their hands with lukewarm water and soap before they eat and after they’ve used the toilet. TOP TIP: Show them how to draw a shallow basin of water, rather than keeping the tap running. This is an effortless way to reduce your household’s water usage.
The importance of sufficient sleep throughout childhood (and the rest of our lives, for that matter) cannot be overstressed. A lack of sleep has been linked to everything from depression and anxiety, to obesity, thyroid disease, cardiovascular illnesses and musculoskeletal disorders. If you don’t sleep enough, your body doesn’t have sufficient time to regenerate, and that leads to all sorts of long-term problems. Not to mention, it hampers your everyday productivity as well.
Proper hydration is very important. Teach your children to drink a glass of water every hour or two, and try to avoid sodas and sweetened fruit juices. These drinks add unnecessary, empty calories to your child’s diet. If they do want something sweet, give them a piece of fruit. The fibre is good for the gut and it keeps them from ingesting too much refined sugar.
Make fruit and veggies fun. Take your children to farmer’s markets over the weekend and let them help you decide which fruit and vegetables to buy for the week ahead. Take them cherry- or strawberry picking. Or better yet, grow some veggies at home. Children love getting their hands dirty. Let them help you in the kitchen and teach them how to make tasty smoothies from fresh fruit and crunchy crudités from vegetables.
These are a few of the important lifelong health habits you should make a point of teaching your children. Remember, children are great imitators – they learn best by example. As such, living your lessons and showing your kids how you apply it in your own life every day is bound to be much more effective than simply telling them what to do.