5 tips to a healthy child


What I tend to see quite often these days is kids being one of two things. 1) extremely athletic, driven, motivated to be the next champion of the world or 2) unmotivated, dislikes sport and prefers the couch. It seems as though simply being healthy is never the goal for kids. Of course, who wouldn’t love a champion sports star but for 99.5% of the children population this won’t be the case. The early years of a child’s life is the best time to set healthy habits. Doing so will give your child the best chance of good health for life.

Let’s take a look at 5 things you can do from now to set your little one the path to good health.

  • Get their heart rate elevated every day. Race them on their bikes, have running races, get them to play chasey/tag, walking or run up a hill, 20 big jumps on the spot or cycling up a hill are all activities that will shoot their heart rate up. Making their heart pump faster makes their heart stronger, helps maintain a normal blood pressure and helps build muscle mass.
  • Do daily resistance activities. This doesn’t mean get the dumbbells out. It means have them lift or hold something with safe loading. Carrying out the washing, bringing in the shopping, pulling out weeds, climbing walls, doing monkey bars, playing tug-of-war or shovelling sand will have your child building muscle, increasing their strength and reduce their risk of injury.
  • Avoid lollies, cakes and chocolate as often as possible. That yummy taste and the happy feeling kids (and adults) gets after consuming processed, sugary foods is addictive. Unfortunately, sugar spikes insulin in the blood. Do this excessively and consistently your child could be on their way to type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and heart disease. The youngest recorded child with type 2 diabetes is 3 years of age. So as challenging as it may be, please think twice about overusing lollies and the like as rewards or a part of their daily nutritional intake. This is not me trying to scare you, it is me trying to educate you that type 2 diabetes is completely avoidable with just a few healthy habits.
  • For the same reasons as above, eliminate fizzy drinks. They have zero health benefits and are only a risk of creating habits that lead to scary health risks for your child. “But what am I supposed to give my child?” I hear you ask. Water is the first answer. Below are the recommendations for children.

4-8 years of age          1.75 litres per day

9-13 years of age        2.25-2.5 litres per day

14-18 years of age      2.5- 3 litres per day

Water keeps their body hydrated, keeps their digestion system functioning well and keeps children’s body temperature regulated. If your child struggles to drink water, ask yourself if they have seen you drinking water frequently. A simple way to get the water intake up is to have a glass with every meal or snack. If you did that together at breakfast, after school and dinner you are well on your way for your daily quota.

  • Get enough sleep. Your little one’s body is changing and developing every day. To help them grow, reset and be in the best mood they can be, sleep is needed (for us parents also!)

The Australian department of health recommends the following:

5-13 years; uninterrupted 9-11 hours per night

14-17 years; uninterrupted 8-10 hours per night

            Not getting the right amount of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, temper tantrums, increase body weight and a weak immune system. Getting enough sleep helps children to be happier and healthier. Plus, we all love that feeling when they go to bed why not get more of it?

The next time you see your Facebook friend posting about their child winning again please don’t think that your child should be doing the same. Your child only needs to be themselves, but they do need to be healthy. What good is a type 2 diabetic engineer? What good is it that your child becomes a business owner and can’t walk up the stairs to their office without sweating? What good is it that your tradie child is always missing work as they are always injured? Now is the chance to set your child up with lifelong habits that will allow them to be healthy and able to achieve anything they want to. Don’t let health be a factor in them not achieving their dreams.


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