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All parents strive to ensure their childrens physical and mental well-being. But invariably, some decisions they take may be harmful for their kids health. Heres how to avoid making these mistakes
Do you let your child run off to school without breakfast? Or ignore your little one's dental hygiene and have a casual attitude about fever? Unknowingly, even an educated and well-read parent may sometimes overlook certain important factors about the child's health.
|Limiting sentiments of quality time to outdoor pursuits||Gang up with your kid at home while doing routine activities.|
By not letting your kid stay in the kitchen while you are cooking, both lose out. When cooking a meal, you may not want them in the way. But studies have shown that when a child is involved in meal preparation, they will at least try the food. For instance, making them cut some no-no vegetables like radish or spinach, may encourage them to take a helping of the same at the table. Preparing a salad with your little ones will get them interested in the colors of the ingredients and appreciate the vegetables and fruits that go into it. Importantly, this together time leads to a lot of freewheeling conversations.
|Overdrawing the feeding rules||Nutritive and flexible twist to the daily regime.|
As a parent, you would know that many children are fussy eaters; that's part of their development. They are usually averse to trying new foods. But, children are especially vulnerable to the easy availability of unhealthy, packaged food. Expose them to a variety of fruits, veggies, and healthy food, but coaxing is not going to work. Rewarding them (by allowing them to watch TV while eating) or punishing them are wrong options. Keep the food on the table and stay neutral. Whatever it is, don't give up easily. Put the food they are averse to trying, in front of them on at least fifteen occasions. Cook, it differently but don't berate. It's okay to dress up boring foods with embellishments. For example, mildly spiced-up paneer (cottage cheese) rolled up in rotis will make an interesting snack, so will ranch dressing on steamed vegetables
"Children learn healthy eating habits by watching parents, so set a good example. Distraction feeding should not be a solution. Instead, making meals a part of family time, where everyone sits together and eats, will encourage children to try new foods. For younger kids, self-feeding will motivate them to try different food," says Archana Reddy, nutritionist
|Nagging them to go out and play||Make exercising an enjoyable activity.|
Parents who exercise because they love it will most likely have children who follow suit. Involve the little ones whenever possible. Walk to the neighborhood shop, go for a swim with them on a pleasant day, do aerobics by playing the video on TV, get them involved with gardening - anything that will keep them physically active rather than simply berating them to go out and play even when there is no company.
|Neglecting on their dental hygiene||Lead the oral hygiene ritual by example and supervision.|
It's good if you have been reminding (or nagging) your children to wash their hands frequently. But, have you been watchful of their dental hygiene? Make them floss once a day at least and make it a bedtime ritual. They may protest, but they will get the activity registered in their heads, and that will make it a habit. Similarly, monitor how they brush their teeth and always insist on sips of water after the little tykes have consumed milk before going to bed.
|Misleading their quench of thirst||Stumble on some healthier alternatives|
If your child is thirsty, nothing can replace the benefits of plain water. Next would be fresh fruit juice or better still, the fruit itself. Iced lemon tea is also a swell option. Cold milk flavored with a treat, like vanilla extract or rose syrup, can be placed in the refrigerator. Your child will forget sugary drinks if you offer these tasty options first. Watch the difference it will make in your child's health and attitude.
|Overlooking pyrexia||Regular Monitoring|
Putting your hand on your child's forehead is not the way to monitor a fever. Fevers can catch you by surprise and lead to severe complications. Always check the fever with a rectal thermometer. If the child is cranky, the underarm temperature is okay as well. Give medicines as prescribed by the doctor rather than relying only on home remedies. Cold packs and consultations with the physician are mandatory in case of fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
|Rush through breakfast||Allot vital time for breakfast|
Early morning school rush and what gets hit? Breakfast. The lead cause for crankiness is skipping the most important meal of the day. So, what should you do? Allocate your morning schedule around breakfast. That time should be sacrosanct. If your child is late, pack a small box for breakfast on the go. A banana is a quick pick-me-up so incorporate it into this meal.
"Having breakfast should be compulsory as the child has not eaten for the last 8-9 hours. Give your child a simple sandwich or even one idli, which will sustain him till the next meal," says Archana Reddy, nutritionist.
|Overlooking the chances of viral infection||Check on flu vaccines|
If your child is regularly catching a cold or has flu-like symptoms, do not ignore it. Check with your pediatrician about flu vaccines. If the doctor gives a go-ahead signal, then consider this vaccine for the kid. It will stave off a lot of inconveniences, from being sick to catching up on school work.
|Comparison||Celebrate their individuality|
Have you ever compared your child with someone else, maybe a sibling? How about that question - Who got the highest marks? Or else, do you scoff at any of his creative ideas? Have you criticized the way he dresses or the way he looks (too skinny, too fat.)? These may fuel what could become a personality defect in the child. Praise him constructively, not blindly. Compliment him frequently. Critique, don't criticize. Talk to him about what he is doing, how he feels, and learn to listen to him. Instead of Who ask What were the highest marks. Be his cheerleader always and as a parent, help him set goals for himself. Help him have a sound mind in a healthy body.
|Avoiding Showdowns||Start prioritizing the child's mental health|
One of the mistakes parents do, is to avoid confrontations or showdowns. They try their best to stave off meltdowns by making things work for their kids. When your child is frustrated, be compassionate and empathetic but don't avoid a definite venting. If they say things to you out of frustration or anger, don't take it personally. Telling them that they are disrespectful is not as helpful as letting them calm down and weighing options with them. Mental health is complicated but giving your child tools to deal with frustrations is possibly your best gift for their future.