Health Tips: Keys to Raising Healthy Kids

November 13, 2011

There are 4 basic tips, keys to raising kids, which will help your kids achieve and sustain good health. These tips have to do with health, physical or mental, and fitness and the diet they follow. Tip #1: Make sure they sleep. Make bedtime coincide with your child’s natural sleepy time, not a predetermined clock time.

In many American households, getting a good night’s sleep is second to after-school activities, TV and Facebook. The result: Sleep deprived kids who struggle with schoolwork and with managing their emotions.

‘’Parents should think about sleep as something vital to their child’s well-being, like good nutrition and exercise,’’ says Dr Marc Weissbluth, a professor of clinical paediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. ‘’Without adequate sleep, children have difficulty focusing and the development of their long-term memory can be hampered’’.

Sleep is the first topic that family education and child development expert Mary Sheedy Kurcinka addresses when families come to her for help. ‘’Many parents do not know how much sleep their child needs’’ she says. ‘’They are shocked when, after a few weeks of adequate sleep, many of their child’s behaviour problems disappear’’.

Inadequate sleep has even been linked to obesity. ‘’Sleepy kids crave carbohydrates because their brain is tell them to get more energy to keep going’’, says Kurcinka.

So what can parents do? First, learn how much sleep your child needs. (The Natural Sleep Foundation has general guidelines for the amount of sleep needed at different ages). Then establish regular going-to-bed routines and times. ‘’Each child’s sleep clock is different’’ says Weissbluth. Some kids get sleepy not long after dinner, some need naps and some – especially adolescents – are not ready for bed untie after 10:30 or later.

While there is no sure-fire prebed routine made for every child, kids still need a routine. ‘’A bath and book may be relaxing for some kids but stimulating for others’’ says Kurcinka. ‘’You have to experiment to find out what works’’.

No parent should have trouble following this tip, but should have trouble you should see a specialist.

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