HABIT 4: BREAKING THE SUGAR CYCLE
Feeding your child a nutritious diet helps to keep them physically fit, and creates healthy eating habits that will stay with them into adulthood. Remind them of how important it is to eat breakfast every day. Skip the sugary cereal in favor of wheat or bran cereal, oatmeal, fruits, whole grain toast or muffins, eggs, and other power foods.
If possible, pack your children’s school lunches with nutritious choices from all the food groups, or talk to them about making healthy choices in the cafeteria. Enjoy a family meal in the evening so you can reconnect while setting an example for healthy eating.
Also, help your child develop a habit of drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Stress the importance of increasing water consumption in the summer, especially after strenuous activities.
HABIT 5: GETTING SQUEAKY CLEAN FROM HEAD TO TOE
Personal hygiene habits begin forming at an early age. Teach your child the importance of proper washing and regular bathing, in addition to frequent hand washing throughout the day. In addition, make sure your child is practicing good oral health by:
- Brushing at least twice a day
- Flossing daily (you can help children under 8 with flossing)
- Visiting the dentist regularly
- Limiting sugary snacks and drinks that can cause tooth decay
Regular shampooing and hair care is also important. For young children, shampooing every few days is fine, but pre-teens and adolescents should wash their hair daily. As a parent, be on the lookout for head lice, a very common and contagious infection that’s often caught at school. If your child’s school reports an instance, you should check your child every 3 to 4 days for signs of head lice. Also, remind kids not to share items that are used on or near the head, such as hats or scarves, combs and brushes, and bike helmets.
By reinforcing these habits at home, you’ll give your children a strong foundation for a long and healthy life.