Raising a healthy child requires time, dedication and more importantly love from you and your partner. While most parents are often busy with making a living for the family, it is still important to spend whatever time you have raising a child that is happy and healthy throughout the growing years.
A Strong Immunity
At the foundation of good health is a good immune system. And, a strong, healthy immune system can be supported through proper nutrition and the right habits at home. As the gut is the largest immune organ and 80% of the antibody producing cells are located in the gut, having the right nutrition is important. One of the best ways to improve your child’s gut health, and in turn immunity is to have probiotics in a daily diet. Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organisation (2001) as "live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health beneﬁt on the host”. Your child can receive the goodness of probiotics through food such as yogurt and fortified milk. Look out for milk that contains strains of good bacteria such as Bifidobacteria lactis to support your child’s digestive system, and immune system.
Cooking Up Healthier Meal Options
In the kitchen, you can always try to include healthy options such as fruits and vegetables instead of the easy fast food option. Get your children involved in making meals to spark interest in what they eat. Making meals at home can be fun. It doesn’t take a lot of time, just a little more planning. Having good nutrition doesn’t mean spending more. It simply means swapping healthier choices for less healthy ones.
Getting Physically Active
Exercise isn’t only for adults. Even for your young, growing children, exercise will help build a strong body. It can help control body weight and improve cardiovascular health. More than that, when you encourage your child to exercise, you’re encouraging general good health, which lowers the risk of certain diseases. Physical activity doesn’t have to be boring squats or difficult pull ups for your child. You can play games with your child, such as hopscotch, climbing around the playground and even simple things like bouncing a balloon in the air.
Good Habits at Home
With the modern wonders of technology bringing us tablets and smartphones, it’s always easy to use them as entertainment tools for your child. However, it’s good to keep an eye on your child and how much time is spent in front of a gadget. They can be addictive for your child, and the time spent on these gadgets could be spent outdoors being active. At dinnertime, you could spend time talking to your child instead of using your tablets and smartphones as distractions.
As parents, avoid blaming yourself too harshly for any mistakes made in raising your child. It is a learning journey, and you can take each step as a lesson to learn. If you’re feeling under the pressure, speak to your partner, or family. Your own parents will have some words of wisdom to share.
** Langhendries JP, Detry J, Van Hees J et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr
1995; 21: 177-81.