No parent wants to play games with their child’s health, but there may be some things you’re doing (or not doing) that are creating problems, without realizing it. Experts are always reminding parents to take good care of their children’s health and teach them healthy habits early on. For many parents, this isn’t always easy.
The Experts’ Advice on Your Child’s Health
- From the Family Doctor: Nip heart healthy concerns in the bud.
- From the Dentist: Brush from the very first tooth
- From the Personal Trainer: Send them outside to play
- From the Dermatologist: Teach them to wash their faces morning and night
- From the Nutritionist: Never use food as a reward
Two thirds of the nation are currently considered obese and children are no stranger to that statistic. In fact, childhood obesity is rapidly growing, causing extreme health concerns down the road, particularly heart conditions.
Dr. Dyan Hes of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York wants parents to “buy fewer of the foods that are associated with the development of obesity, such as sweetened beverages (including fruit- flavored drinks), high-caloric-density snacks, [and] sweets.” If there’s one thing your doctor wants you to remember as a parent, it’s that some of the foods you’re feeding your children in excess, including fats, sugars, and salt, are going to hurt their health in the long run.
The CDC reports that 42 percent of children between the ages of two and 11 have had dental caries in their primary teeth. This comes primarily from a lack of oral hygiene habits instilled by the parents.
Dr. Jacob Taylor of Bridge Creek Dental in Billings, Montana says, “Babies can cut their first tooth as early as 3 months. From that time forward, parents should develop a habit of brushing their baby’s teeth, a habit which your child will develop with age.” This is essential for good dental health that will last a lifetime.
A surprising amount of children don’t get their exercise today. This is thanks to a rise in technology that entices children to stay inside to play rather than playing outside for exercise. It’s often easier for parents to let their children play with technology rather than watching them outside.
However, this could be damaging your child’s health, according to the doctors of BetterHealthChannel. “Kids need to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, but can benefit from up to several hours of physical activity over the course of each day.”
Parents are recommended to set a good example. It’s important to include physical activity early on in a child’s life and get the whole family involved to promote good health.
One often overlooked aspect of staying healthy is caring for the outside of your body, particularly the skin. As any dermatologist will tell you, the most sensitive and vulnerable part of your skin is your face, and children should learn early on that they should wash their face and moisturize daily to prevent breakouts and early aging.
When children are young, dermatologists recommend using very gentle soap or just water to instill these good habits. Then, as they age, have them use soaps that are more suited for their skin types. This habit will keep them looking healthy on the outside as well as the inside.
Many parents choose to use food as a reward when their child does something right, but according to nutritionists at the University of Rochester Medical Center, this is doing more harm than good.
“Using food as a reward or as a punishment can undermine the healthy eating habits that you’re trying to teach your children,” they say. “Giving sweets, chips, or soda as a reward often leads to children overeating foods that are high in sugar, fat, and empty calories.
The food reward technique interferes with kids’ natural ability to regulate their eating. It encourages them to eat when they’re not hungry to reward themselves.” It’s much better to simply use praise as a prize for good behavior to avoid promoting obesity and other negative health effects in your child.