Raising Healthy Kids—A Healthy Lifestyle Checklist
The following is a checklist you can use as a guide to help your child through their formative years and beyond so they can enjoy good health. These tips are great for everyone, regardless of age!
Children’s Health Checklist:
1. Great Sleep Helps Them Grow and Learn
Studies have shown that kids who regularly get adequate sleep have improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity and even depression. Ensure to remove electronics from your child’s bedroom and have a dark environment to promote restful sleep.
2. Child-Size Exercise Makes a Difference
Kids have a lot of energy, and to ensure they make the most of it, it’s important to establish a regular exercise routine. Children who are growing need specific, kid-style exercises to develop their muscles and bones and cardiovascular fitness. These exercises also have a positive effect on mood as well, which can help alleviate anxiety and low moods.
- Jumping Jacks
- Dancing to music
- Balancing on one foot
- Bear crawl or mountain climbers
- Follow the Leader (make it fun)
3. Quality, Nutrient-Dense Foods and Supplementation
Whole foods packed with healthy nutrients will serve your children’s growth spurts well and teach them good food habits for life. Vegetables, fruits, healthy grains, good fats and protein foods all offer a wealth of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are essential for a youngster’s nutrition. Always go with food first but supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin and Omega-3 fatty acids (higher in DHA to support their developing brains) can be very helpful to support your child’s development.
4. Hydration is Crucial for Growing Bodies
Staying hydrated is important for many aspects of health, and drinking enough water regulates everything from cell function to body temperature and beyond. Make it fun for them to drink their water by adding fresh fruits and having cool and playful non-toxic water bottles.
5. No Added Sugar, Please
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting added sugar intake to less than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day for children aged two and older. Swapping fruit juice for whole fruits, serving water in place of sugar-sweetened beverages, and checking food labels carefully for hidden sources of sugar can help cut back on your child’s sugar consumption and help promote the best nutrition for kids.
6. Feed the Right Kind of Fat
Stay away from fast fried foods and any food that contains trans fat, as it can contribute to serious conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Instead, choose healthy fats from sources like coconut and olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
7. Check the Quality of Your Indoor Air
It is important to ensure our air quality has the lowest levels of toxicity possible as harmful indoor air pollution can have serious side effects that include headache, chest tightness, fatigue, skin irritation, eye and throat irritation, and shortness of breath. Chemical emanation from things like air fresheners, mattresses, furniture, carpets or treated laminated floors should be kept to a minimum to decrease the entire family’s toxic load.
8. Keep the Use of Electronics (EMF) to a Minimum
Constant exposure to Electromagnetic Fields like computers, televisions and other devices can wreak havoc on the body. It’s important to note that side effects manifest differently in children and adults. How safe is it for a five-year-old to be using a cellphone? Not very. Children have smaller heads, thinner skulls and more fluid in the brain, allowing them to absorb more radiation than adults, so it’s best to keep electronics away from your child as much as possible.
9. How “Clean” Are Your Cleaning Products?
Personal care products like soaps, creams and laundry detergent are often also made of harmful chemicals which can add to a child’s “toxic load”. Opt instead for organic, chemical-free personal and cleaning products that won’t cause adverse health effects in the short or long term.
10. Engage in Face-to-Face Interactions Often!
Don’t let technology drive you and your child’s lives. Ensure you encourage plenty of playing, drawing, baking, walking, and other activities you can do together that don’t rely on technology. Overuse of technology can impact the neurotransmitter dopamine which is responsible for pleasure and motivation. Dysregulation of the brain reward system can lead to addictive behaviours.
11. Spend Time Outside and Get Dirt—Earthing
Earthing, or grounding, involves walking barefoot outside, with the soles of your feet connecting directly with the surface of the earth thereby connecting you to the healing energy of the ground. It helps to reduce stress, improve sleep and boost energy. Since kids love playing, this shouldn’t be hard for them to do!
12. How Chiropractic Benefits Children
Kids will have bumps and falls as they develop so it’s crucially important to ensure they get the best support for their posture, spine and nervous system functioning. Chiropractic can help their brains and bodies communicate optimally so they can efficiently adapt to changes in their growing bodies. Just like having their eyes and teeth checked, regular chiropractic check-ups can ensure that they grow strong and healthy.
Have you had a health check-up for your child(ren) at our clinic yet? We’d love to see your children and partner with you in raising healthy kids in our community! Schedule an appointment today HERE.
As we are now halfway through August you might also be interested in a previous blog I wrote about heading back to school and backpacks. You can read it HERE.
Keep doing a great job parents!