Everyone wants their children to be healthy and happy, but it can be easy to slip into bad habits when you are busy. It can be tempting as you rush around for school, work and weekend activities, to simply order takeaway meals and relax in front of the TV. But unhealthy habits can be dangerous for children’s health, both now and as they grow into adults. Encourage your children to have a healthy lifestyle so that they can develop properly, maintain a normal weight, fight off illness and build strong bones and muscles.
Eat more fruit and vegetables
Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will help children get the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Aim for five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day. Try to include vegetables in every meal you serve your family, and get creative by adding grated vegetables to pasta, tacos, and sandwiches. Keep plenty of fresh fruit available for snacks, and try to introduce new fruits to their diet as well as old favourites. Children can help with washing, chopping and cooking fruits and vegetables, and they’re more likely to enjoy eating them if they have been a part of the preparation.
Choose healthy snacks
Rather than buying processed snacks like muesli bars or chips, try to base snacks around fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains. Anything high in sugar or saturated fats should be avoided as these can cause children to gain excess weight.
Only drink water
Water is the best drink to offer children. Avoid giving children soft drinks, iced tea, sports drinks or flavoured milk as these are loaded with sugar and contain little nutritional value. For children two years and older, you can offer milk as well as water. Fruit juice is high in sugar, so offer children a whole piece of fruit rather than a glass of juice. Make sure you pack a bottle of water in your kid’s lunch box and reserve soft drinks for special occasions only. If your child is bored with water, make it more palatable with a slice of fresh lime, lemon, or strawberry.
Be active every day
Children should be active for at least one hour every day. For toddlers and pre-schoolers, it should be even more. Schedule regular times for physical activity every day, whether it’s outdoor play, a walk in the park, or tossing a ball in the backyard. Get the whole family involved by doing physical activities together – it’s good for mums and dads too! Older children can take part in team sports or dance classes. Limit their screen time and encourage them to go outside and be active rather than watching TV or playing on electronic devices.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle for anybody, but it’s especially important for children. Set a bedtime for your child and enforce it to ensure they get enough sleep. Consider setting rules about screen time before bed, as this can interfere with children’ sleep. Limit sugar in the few hours before bedtime, and establish a bedtime routine to help children unwind and relax before bed.
At Nido, we’re committed to helping children live healthy, active lifestyles. Every is designed to include versatile play areas including studio spaces, areas for musical play, and areas for large scale construction activities. Our students are served nutritious, tasty meals every day made fresh in our onsite Cucina (Italian for ‘kitchen’). Nido early schools follow the Reggio Emilia approach to education, and we’ve adapted it to suit the climate, culture and educational context of Australia. With experienced educators, comfortable learning environments, and a flexible approach to learning, Nido is often seen as a home away from home.