By Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D.
This month I’ve decided to write down a general list of things that should be incorporated in to a child’s daily, weekly and monthly schedule. Balance is the key to healthy outcomes, and many people may not be aware what seemingly small tasks can do for a child’s growth and development, physically and mentally.
If you haven’t done so already, try slowly implementing these things to your child’s (and your own) life and see the impact these simple tasks can have!
1. – Processed foods expose you and your children to unnatural and potentially harmful chemicals that are used to prolong the shelf-life of that product. Processed foods also contain massive amounts of sugar and sodium, artificial colours and are usually void of substantial nutrients. These things may not seem to be doing any harm at the time of consumption, but can negatively impact your child’s health and development, and can aggravate existing health problems.
2. – Family support is key for building a child`s self-confidence, a trait that is essential for children to become well-adjusted adults. This is a time where you and your family can share and bond over common interests. This can also be a time where your child can talk to the family about problems at school, with friends, or even to work out problems surrounding family dynamics. Your child should feel like they can be themselves without the fear of being judged or punished. This will help establish healthy, supportive and trustful relationships amongst family members.
3. – TV and video games are highly addictive and can create negative impacts in your child`s physical, mental and social health. Kids who spend more than 2 hours daily watching tv, or playing video games tend to be less physically active and tend to struggle with schoolwork. Create clear limitations to the amount of time your child can engage in these activities, and give a clear explanation why they cannot spend all their free time on these activities. This will give your child the ability to willingly explore and become interested in other extracurricular activities. 1 hour a day of either television or videogames during the school week is more than enough.
4. – Engaging in family activity time will not only help improve the health of all family members, but will instill the importance of exercise in your child as they grow and develop in to well-balanced adults. Children are impressionable and need to see people they respect and look up to, such as parents, setting an example of activities that are important to a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Going for bike rides, hikes, skating, powerwalks (to name a few) are all fun family activities that are accessible and cost-effective.
5. – Creating healthy family dinners together provides your child with quality family time, and allows them to give their input on what they would like to eat. Iinvolving them in the dinner making process may make them more willing to accept and try new and exciting (healthy) foods.
Try adding these tips to your family lifestyle and see the positive benefits they can have on your family’s physical and emotional health!