8 Steps to Raise a Healthy Toddler
A healthy child is something every parent wants to raise, but if you’ve never raised kids before, you might be overly terrified of doing something wrong. The good news is that it isn’t as difficult as you might expect, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still consider how to provide your toddler with the healthiest life possible.
Make Mealtimes Fun
It’s no secret that kids can be messy eaters, so it’s essential to make them associate dinner time with something enjoyable. One way to do so is by creating a family environment for mealtimes where everybody gets together and talks about their day.
The more you show you are enjoying your food, the more your toddler might want to give it a try for themselves. Your toddler will try to model their parents, so if you can prove that food isn’t so bad, they will be more open to trying new things. Not only will this prevent wasted food, but it also encourages them to try new things more readily.
Let Them Decide How Much to Eat
Many households of the past forced children to eat everything on their plate before they were permitted to leave. While this may have been effective once upon a time, it can also create unhealthy associations with food that could affect your toddler later in life.
By all means, offer plenty of nutritious foods for your toddler, but allow them to decide how much or how little they want. They may eat it all, or they may take a few bites. But it would help if you didn’t force them to eat it, as they will be more resistant to eating it as they grow older. You and your partner can eat any leftover food, so there’s no wastage.
Offer Plenty to Drink
Fluids, fluids, fluids are essential for developing excellent health habits, and it can include everything from water to juice, or even breast milk if they’re still feeding. Through these fluids, kids will get the nutrients they need and can keep them hydrated, which is vital if they’re spending all afternoon running around the park or playing with friends.
As it’s easy for kids and toddlers to get wrapped up in their activities, encouraging regular drinks breaks will prevent them from overheating and getting exhausted. If possible, you may be able to give them a watch with an alarm that will remind them to take a sip every 30 minutes to an hour.
Keep an Eye on Their Concentration
Focus is something that kids, by nature, struggle with. Especially if they are toddlers. There are too many stimuli around especially right now with the pandemic, and they want to take it all in at once. Despite this, a lack of focus, headaches, and concentration could be hints of other issues.
One key issue could be vision problems. You can look here to consider the causes, symptoms, and treatments, but it’s also worth knowing how vision issues can impact your toddler when they get to school. If they can’t focus because they can’t see the work on the board, there’s a risk they’ll fall behind.
Listen When They Talk
Hollywood has this trend where kids are wiser than their years, but while it might seem like a tired trope that has long outstayed its welcome, there could be some truth to it. Kids are more tuned-in to the world, and their feelings than many adults expect.
If you want to raise a healthy child, it’s best to start listening to them while they are a toddler. Sure, much of what they say may be mindless chatter, but allowing them to speak to you about thoughts, feelings, and emotions will help them to become more comfortable with these aspects as they grow up.
Reward Them With Praise
No child wants to feel like there’s nothing they can do to impress their parents, so while it’s important to discipline them when they act out, it’s equally important to praise them for doing well.
There are plenty of places they can do well, too. It could be school and homework, sport, finishing their meals and eating healthily, or even treating their friends and siblings with care and respect. Whatever positive actions your toddler does, you should praise and encourage it, and reward them, as this will inspire them to repeat this behavior in the future.
Encourage Energetic Play
All kids need to burn off energy; otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to control them. Anyone with toddlers knows how they can be huge balls of energy that don’t stop running around. While many parents can become exasperated by this, it’s good to encourage energetic play, and not just because they will eventually burnout.
Energetic play will boost endorphins and make your toddler feel happy. They might not understand it now, but as they grow older, they can rediscover this feeling with exercise such as going to the gym, running, or playing sports. As they’ll associate these healthy habits with happiness, they might be more willing to pursue them.
Limit Screen Time
Screens are everywhere nowadays. If you look around you right now, you’ll likely see at least three screens close enough to reach and pick up. Some parents will use screens as a parenting tool. They want to distract their kids, so they’ll put Youtube or Netflix on.
However, this will create bad habits for your toddler. It will make them resistant to anything other than the instant gratification of the TV. You can still allow them to watch and play games, but they should also do other things, too, such as read books, create, or play outside. They may not like it at first, but it will stop them from spending all day indoors.
We all know how stubborn kids can be, especially when it comes to things that will benefit them, such as exercise and healthy eating. However, with the right approach, you can promote and encourage healthy habits in them while they’re still young, and this will set them up perfectly to continue these habits as they get older, so your healthy toddler will grow into a healthy teenager and adult.