Kids’ day-to-day activities form habits that can affect their overall health. While most kid’s habits are considered a normal – even happy – part of childhood, parents who aim to raise fit and healthy individuals should watch out for eating, sleeping, and playing habits that are doing their children more harm than good. There is no such thing as too early when it comes to ditching bad habits. Start them young and read on for the six harmful habits that you should nip in the bud as early as now.
Becoming Too Tied To Technology
As technology becomes more and more prevalent, children increasingly prefer staying indoors glued to the television and their gadgets over engaging in outdoor play, providing them a host of problems concerning physical fitness and social skills. Aside from making kids more susceptible to obesity and diseases like cancer and diabetes, spending excessive amounts of time indoors does not help them improve in social interactions. Help kids become healthier through active play. Make fun active play ideas so they enjoy themselves. Not only will playground time boost their strength, it will also allow them to gain confidence and make friends.
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Gravitating Towards Certain Foods
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It is not an unusual sight to see kids hankering for a single type of food, be it hotdogs, sweets, and other items that should be eaten in moderation. Not eating right is one habit kids should break as it does not provide them the complete nourishment that they need for growth and development. The next time they ask or reach out for their quick fix, Angela Lemond, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says be patient and just give them healthful foods that they do not like until they eat. Kristi King, also a spokesperson at the said academy, adds providing appetizing alternatives like low-fat milk, real fruits, and crackers.
Starting The Day Without Breakfast
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It is not for nothing that breakfast is hailed as the most important meal — it breaks the fasting that the body has undergone while asleep, giving it the needed nutrients to face the day. According to Dr. Shavon Jackson-Michel, MD, physician and professor, the consequences of skipping breakfast range from obesity (due to the tendency to overeat to compensate for the missed meal), bad mood, poor academic performance, and physical side effects like dizziness, weakness, and palpitation, among others. To break this no-breakfast habit, KidsHealth suggests preparing the night before, having everyone wake up earlier, and stocking up on healthy breakfast meals as well as food items that can be conveniently eaten while on the go.
Rewarding Or Punishing Children Through Food
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Giving kids a treat for a job well done or denying them their desired food until they do whatever it is you tell them is using food as a leverage to encourage or to stop certain behaviors. While this may be effective to some extent, this comes at the cost of reinforcing unhealthy eating habits among young people. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), this practice often results in kids overeating sugar-loaded and fat-laden foods and setting them up for emotional eating. URMC suggests providing your kids alternatives that do not include food such as going to the library or on a family trip, getting them school and art supplies or toys, listening to music, letting them go on sleepovers with friends, and so on.
Choosing Juices and Soda Over Water
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Any drink may satisfy your child’s thirst, but water should still be the number one choice for hydration. According to Keli Hawthorne, a dietitian, water is not only simpler for the kidneys to filter, but is also free of calories and preservatives that are commonly found in other beverages. Also, not drinking enough water results in dehydration, the most common symptoms of which are headaches and tiredness. Try Lifehacker’s tips on your children like including chugging down water in daily routines, marking transparent refillable water bottles with time goals, and adding sliced fruits to water to add an interesting flavor.
Staying Up Late
While kids need entertainment, too much television time can deplete their sleep bank. Sleep deprivation have adverse effects on children’s attention, memory retention, and mood, resulting in health and behavioral problems and hampering academic performance, Dr. Michael J. Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist specializing in sleep disorders, points out. He then suggests limiting exposure to the television and gadgets especially at night, establishing healthy bedtime rituals, and eliminating daytime stress as much as possible. He adds that it is important to be consistent and in situations that warrant seeking professional help, consult your doctor.
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It may not be easy to teach kids how to unlearn unhealthy habits, but you can eventually make them appreciate good habits to replace the bad ones with. As an adult prominent in your child’s life, you need to be a good role model, do good health practices yourself, and guide them every step of the way. Remember, the health habits that they cultivate now lead to their fitness tomorrow.