Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple recipe we could follow to guarantee that our kids will be healthy and strong? Unfortunately, there is no magic recipe, but there are some things you as parents and nannies can do to increase the likelihood of having healthy kids. Here are a few of the most important things you can do to encourage health for your kids.
- Be healthy yourself. You are setting an example for them to follow.
- Provide healthy foods for meals and snacks. Minimize the presence of junk foods, empty calories, and processed sugars in your home.
- Encourage active lifestyles. Enroll your kids in dance or karate classes, take them on nature hikes, play tennis with them, and find other fun ways to get your kids active.
- Minimize your kids’ exposure to environmental hazards such as cigarette smoke.
- Ensure that your kids wear seat belts or other age and size appropriate restraints while in a vehicle.
- Provide proper supervision for your kids at all times. Nannies and babysitters can be invaluable resources when you are at work or otherwise unable to be home.
- Teach your kids to recognize common hazards and how to respond to them. This includes stranger danger, electric shock danger, household stairway danger, and other common safety concerns.
- Teach your kids healthy boundaries. This includes how to say “no” and mean it, how to take steps to ensure that people respect your boundaries (”Don’t touch me! I don’t know you!”), how to choose friends based on mutual respect and kindness, and how to walk (or run) away when not being treated appropriately.
- Allow your kids to have voice in their outcomes while maintaining that the ultimate decision (or at least veto authority) rests with you.
- Validate how your kids feel even when you don’t like how they feel. They feel how they feel. You can’t take that away from them. However, you do have the right to redirect them about how they behave (which is not the same thing as how they feel).
- Praise your kids often. Psychological health is predicated on positive self-image.
These tips are some of the most important things you can do to ensure that your kids are healthy and strong. Of course, there are many more things you can do as well, and you will find the ways that suit your family best, often by trying a variety of techniques and seeing how each works for your family.