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Essential parenting hacks for the health-conscious parent


(NaturalNews) If you have children, or have spent any amount of time in their presence, it's no secret that they're like sponges. They easily pick up on and "absorb" words, gestures and moods; it's not uncommon for them to frequently mimic your behaviors.

Therefore, parenting experts suggest that people take this as an opportunity to teach children how to live a healthy lifestyle. When you teach them to eat or clean themselves in a certain way – and of course, continue to engage in such good habits yourself – you're setting them up for optimal health.

Why does this matter? As a health-conscious individual, you're aware that many health issues plague the country, including the tremendous problem of obesity. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that about 17 percent, or 12.7 million children and adolescents aged 2–19 years are obese, the importance of keeping children away from a junk food diet is vital.

Of course, other issues outside of weight problems are important as well, as you'll see below.

Easy tips to raise health-conscious children

According to Wendy Hunter, M.D., there are some simple rules to help your children become just as health-conscious as you are.

1. Serve fruits and vegetables
Hunter talks about the importance of the fact that consuming five servings daily of fruits and vegetables helps fight cancer and prevent obesity. However, as she notes, children couldn't really care less about such terms and related studies; they're more motivated by whether or not they're familiar with a certain food than they are scientific findings or even taste. Therefore, she suggests making them familiar with these foods from the outset, so that they grow up learning to enjoy instead of loathe them.

Eat vegetables in front of them and regularly serve it to them. Of course, refrain from making a big production about it, and don't make statements that reinforce certain beliefs about "yucky" broccoli or strange food colors.

2. Teach hand-washing
Hand-washing is great advice for children and adults alike! Hunter explains what we've heard countless times in the past: Germs are transferred to the body every time we touch entry points like the mouth, nose, or eyes. She says that for children this can happen a whopping 50 times every hour!

Therefore, it's necessary for parents to lead by example, and constantly wash their hands, while also insisting that their children do the same. Make it a habit, not an afterthought or once-in-a-while action.

3. Stress the importance of sleep
In today's society, where working late hours and not taking vacations seems to be a badge of honor, it may be easy to tune out the importance of sleep. However, children need a lot more sleep than adults do; toddlers should get 11 to 14 hours (including naps), preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours, and after kindergarten, children require nine to 11 hours of shuteye. Hunter advises sticking to this schedule. Although it may be tempting to keep them up later because you're used to long hours or because you want to have more time with them, it's not a good idea.

4. Make sure children wear a helmet
Experts have discovered that less than half of children wear helmets, and that of those who do, over a third wear them incorrectly. Hunter says that parents need to insist that their children wear one when riding anything with wheels, and of course, to teach by example and wear one themselves.

Do your best to ensure a proper fit. Helmets shouldn't fit loosely, and should rest about two finger-widths above the child's eyebrows. Furthermore, not more than one finger should be able to slip below the chin strap, which should form a "Y" below the ears on both the left and right sides.

5. Have children wear appropriate safety straps
Hunter recalls a statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stating that three out of four kids are not properly restrained in vehicles. Be sure to adhere to the instructions on your child's seat, whether it's a car or booster seat. And of course, make sure you always use a seat belt, and that your child – if at the appropriate age – does so too.

Staying on top of these habits will make it easier for you to raise children that are just as health-conscious as you are. By following these tips, you'll continually teach them behaviors that keep their physical and emotional safety in mind.

Sources for this article include:





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