- Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is important for the whole family since it helps set our metabolism and resets our mood. Getting enough sleep is especially important for kids because it helps them grow. If you are having trouble putting your kids to bed at night, emphasize that they will grow well when they sleep. “If your kids know that they grow when they sleep, they will put themselves to bed.”
- Explain Why Healthy Eating is Important
Instead of telling children to eat healthy foods, explain to them why it is important. If they know that certain foods will make them taller and stronger, or make their hair shinier, they will want to eat them. Kids’ relationship with food gets increasingly complicated as they get older. If you start when they’re very young by teaching them that food is about growing healthfully and having energy to get through the day and fueling their brain, then you’re teaching them everything they need to know for the rest of their life.
- Create Fun Opportunities for Exercise
Exercise is important for bone and muscle health, for creating positive emotions, alleviating stress and preventing diseases later in life. Most kids need about an hour of exercise each day. Another benefit of exercise is that it has a positive effect on test scores. We normally see scores go up with more time spent in exercise and less time spent on subjects.
- Teach Them to Hydrate
Our brains are 80 percent water, so hydration is extremely important, especially for growing little ones. A great way to teach your kids to stay hydrated is to have them look at their pee. Being hydrated means drinking enough so that your pee looks like water. Tell your kids “Look at your pee. And if it’s really yellow, go get a glass of water.”
- Open Your Windows
The air we breathe can have a profound effect on our mood and cognitive abilities, so it is important to keep it clean. Sometimes the air in our homes can be even more polluted than the air outside. Gigi Lee Chang, former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, recommends opening windows, using fans and vents, and having indoor plants in the home to help clean and circulate the air.
- Limit Their Sugar Intake
Finally, if you want to prevent your kids from getting sick, try to minimize the amount of sugar in their diet. According to Dr. Jay Gordon, sugar interferes with the body’s immune system by binding up the antibodies that the immune system needs to fight viruses. “A kid who’s eating a high sugar diet is going to get sick more often,” he says.