A healthy childhood is a happy childhood. There are a few simple steps you can take to help ensure children and young people are as healthy as possible.
The Benefits of Fresh Air
From playing on game consoles to looking at their mobile phones, children seem to be spending more and more time indoors. The increase in numbers of children spending a predominant amount of time inside has led to numerous studies being published highlighting the negative impact this is having on their health and development. Research has also discovered that there are many benefits to children playing outdoors, here are just some of the benefits:
It builds confidence. The way that children play in nature has a lot less structure than most types of indoor play. There are infinite ways to interact with outdoor environments, from the garden to the park to the local hiking trail or lake, and letting your child choose how they treat nature means they have the power to control their own actions.
It promotes creativity and imagination. This unstructured style of play also allows children to interact meaningfully with their surroundings. They can think more freely, design their own activities, and approach the world in inventive ways.
Sunshine provides Vitamin D! Children need vitamin D for bone growth and development. So do babies developing in the womb. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium. Serious vitamin D deficiency in children can cause rickets, delayed motor development, muscle weakness, aches and pains, and fractures.
It provides different stimulation. Nature may seem less stimulating than a video game, but in reality, it activates more senses. You can see, hear, smell, and touch outdoor environments. As the young spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow, this reduces the richness of human experience.
It makes them think. From an environmental perspective nature creates a unique sense of wonder for children that no other environment can provide. The phenomena that occur naturally in gardens and parks everyday make children ask questions about the earth and the life that it supports.
It reduces stress and fatigue. In natural environments, we practice an effortless type of attention known as soft fascination that creates feelings of pleasure. Unlike the urban environment that drains our senses and causes fatigue.
The Benefits of Vaccinations
Immunisation is one of the great scientific advances that has changed the world as we know it. It is an affordable and effective means of protecting not just individuals but whole communities from debilitating diseases.
Many childhood diseases can spread very quickly and have serious consequences. Vaccination is one of the key ways of reducing the incidence of infectious diseases.
Immunisation is the process whereby an individual’s immune system becomes protected against an infection. The purpose of immunisation is to prevent people from acquiring infectious diseases and to protect them against the associated short and longer-term complications of the disease.
Vaccine refers to the material used for immunisation, while vaccination refers to the act of giving a vaccine to a person. Vaccines work by stimulating the body’s defence mechanisms against an infection. These defence mechanisms are collectively referred to as the immune system.
Vaccines mimic and sometimes improve on the body’s protective response. Helping the immune system detect and destroy the infection when it is encountered in the future without development of significant symptoms or complications.
The Benefits of Healthy Eating
A healthy, balanced diet is vital for your child, especially as it provides them with essential nutrients needed for their continued growth and development. Yet with so much conflicting information regarding food and health it can be confusing for many parents when trying to understand what your child needs and why they need it.
Making sure your child has a balanced diet means much more than eating fruit and vegetables for every meal. It involves encouraging them to have a healthy relationship with food! For example, making sure they don’t eat food for the sake of it and knowing that binging on junk food won’t make them feel good. Understanding and using the word ‘moderation’ early on will be sure to teach your child fantastic eating habits, which will stay with them for life.
Other ways a healthy diet can be achieved is by making child-appropriate portion sizes. Aim for three balanced meals a day with up to two healthy snacks.
The Benefits of a Good Sleep Routine
Studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to:
- irritability, increased stress, forgetfulness, difficulties with learning and low motivation. Over time, it can contribute to anxiety and depression.
- Sleep time guidelines depend on a child’s age. Every child is different, so take time to figure out what works best for your child.
- If your child’s sleep routine is disrupted, return them to a healthy sleep schedule as soon as possible.
- See your doctor if you have concerns about your child’s sleep patterns. Sleep is a very important part of your child’s mental and physical health. It allows your child’s mind and body to rest and recover.
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, the role of parents is the same no matter the size of their children. A healthy weight for kids is about much more than numbers. It is about healthy behaviours, such as enjoying a variety of foods and activities for strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity.
For more information on how young people can stay healthy visit the Frimley Healthier Together website