For optimal growth and development, children require proper nutrition, safety and security, and opportunities for learning since birth.
Ensuring such elements is termed as ‘nurturing care’. Mothers need to be concerned about their health before conception and they must receive adequate antenatal and per partum care. It will help in making their health optimal and as well as it is good for fetal growth and brain development.
Proper breastfeeding, immunization, and proper care during any disease makes a child healthy and allows a happy childhood that will be proven helpful in developing their full potential.
Clean and pure water and air, proper sanitation, and safe and secure places for play are quite important for children to grow and learn.
Parents should be able to fulfill children’s needs at times and they will be able to do so if they get the necessary support.
This support may involve addressing the caregiver’s mental health concerns as a vital aspect of the services that will eventually support children’s optimal growth and development.
Tips for Healthy Growth and Development of Children
Eating healthy foods is an important lesson that must be taught to children. The children will pick healthy food choices by the example you set on the table and it will lead to the development of a positive relationship with food.
1. Do Not confine Food
Never limit or restrict certain foods. It can hurt the normal growth and development of children.
It can enhance the risk of the development of eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia in children.
Instead of this, focus on a healthy meal plan including a variety of nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, while excluding junk and processed foods.
2. Keep Healthy Food at Hand
Kids typically eat what they get at hand or what is readily available in the home. Always keep a bowl of fruits containing bananas and apples on the kitchen counter.
As Sothern says that actions speak louder than anything you tell them. So yes, by modeling healthy eating habits at home, you can develop healthy eating habits in your children as well.
3. Do not tag Foods as “Good” or “Bad”
Don’t label foods as good or bad, while giving your kids a healthy meal plan. Instead, try to include things based on their liking.
Make them known that the antioxidants found in vegetables and fruits will make their skin clearer and their hair shinier than ever.
Also, the lean protein present in turkey breast and calcium found in dairy and non-dairy products will keep their bones strong for their sports. Motivate them to have a healthy breakfast to stay focused in school.
4. Healthy Choices
Let your children know that you become proud when they make healthy food choices. Always praise them when they make healthy eating choices like choosing whole grain, fruits, and vegetables.
5. Do not hassle About Unhealthy Choices
Even if you praise their healthy food choices, children are still going to choose unhealthy foods occasionally. It is best to ignore it.
Try to opt for healthier versions of the foods they choose. Instead of giving them French fries, go for roasting potato sticks tossed in oil in the oven.
Strawberries dipped in chocolate can serve as a dessert. Dry fruits are great to get a hand on them as a snack. Try making them choose healthy snack options instead of less healthy ones.
6. No Food as a Reward
Never use food as some prize or reward. When food is used in such a way, it may promote weight gain issues later in life.
Try to give non-food rewards to your children. It can involve some fun activities like bike rides, games, or trips to a nearby park.
7. Family Dinners
Try to prepare meal plates in the kitchen, not at the table. It will ensure that everyone is having healthy portions in the correct portion sizes.
It helps in weight loss too. A healthy portion plate involves whole-grain, lean protein, and lots of vegetables and fruits.
8. organize Plates in the Kitchen
Try to prepare meal plates in the kitchen, not at the table. It will ensure that everyone is having healthy portions in the correct portion sizes. It helps in weight loss too.
9. Reduce Sugar Intake
Foods and sugary drinks such as energy drinks like Horlicks or Bournvita should be avoided by the kids, especially those who are less than 2 years of age.
It may cause issues in children like tooth decay, diabetes, and make their sweet tooth. It can also weaken the bones due to excessive sugar in the body which leads to low calcium absorption.
10. No ‘Clean Plate’ Rule
Most of the kids have grown up following the clean plate rule as limiting food wasting. But this approach can lead to overeating in children.
Sometimes, kids don’t understand and respond to the sensations of fullness in their bodies and keep on eating.
They don’t get when they should stop eating. For this, give them various food choices and make them pick based on their choice and will. Guide them related to intake capacity which will help them in limiting their food intake.
11. Occasional Desserts
You should develop a habit of giving sweets to your children occasionally. Don’t make them a reward as it may become the primary reason to get food for kids.
Don’t use sweets or any food as a way of showing affection to them. It may cause excessive munching in an attempt to cope with stress. Instead, show your affection with praises and hugs.
12. Get moving
Try to keep your children engaged all the time. Set some specific time for TV and computer time. Limit screen time so that they could use them in a constructive way only. Encourage them to play outdoors and be involved in physical activities.
13. Enough Sleep
An adequate amount of sleep is quite essential for the optimal growth and development of children. It is best to develop habits of early bed and early rise in children. It will set a routine for them, which they are likely to follow late in their life as well.
14. Cold and Flu
Washing hands is one of the important health habits that children must follow at home and school to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses.
Children must be taught how to wash their hands before and after eating, and also after using the washroom. You can also make them use anti-bacterial wipes for more safety.
They also need to be learned that never to share their cups or other utensils with friends.
15. Give Control
Allow your children to have some control over the food choices and decision-making about what should be served today.
You can ask your children to take 3 bites of all the foods and then grade them A to F just like in school. If any healthy food item gets a high grade, note it and try to serve it more often.
16. Consult Pediatrician
Always consult a pediatrician before putting a child on a diet and also discuss the purpose of the diet. Discuss whether the diet is used to gain or lose weight, or is just about making a change in the foods that your child used to eat.
Never diagnose your child as being over or underweight based on your judgment. Always seek a pediatrician’s recommendation. Follow the pediatrician’s advice carefully related to the meal plan of your kid.
17. Kids Follow Adult Behavior
Kids typically follow what they see on a daily basis. They will most likely follow in the footsteps of their parents and siblings.
For this reason, it is highly important to be as good a role model as you can to set the best example for your kid. Following tips can be implemented:
· Always choose nutritious snacks
· Never skip meals
18. Eat together at a table
Developing a good and healthy lifestyle from the start can be beneficial for the well-being of the children later in life.
By following such simple tips, you can habituate your children in a good way and make them understand the importance of health from the start.
It is also important for the whole family to have a healthy lifestyle so that children could learn from you as well. Make sure to follow these tips in your life.