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Keep your kids healthy this school term

The Christmas and New Year festivities are now behind us. We are now back to the hustle and bustle of life, with great optimism for 2018. Not to be left behind is our kids, who went back to school last week after a well-deserved break. We have a duty to support our children’s educational endeavors, and strive to keep them in the best of health.

A good starting point is integrating health into our children’s day to day activities. Teaching them about health early in life lays a strong background for continued healthy behavior into adulthood. Many diseases can be prevented, or at least moderated by healthy practices started in early childhood. We are talking of ailments that include infectious diseases, heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers.

Make sure your child is eating healthier stuff, and less junk. Their lunch boxes should contain mostly plant-based foods. We don’t have to spell these out, but they should include lots of greens, non-refined carbohydrates and fruits. Add some measure of lean animal products for their protein requirements, and boost this with plant proteins that include nuts and various kinds of beans. They can wash it all down with some water, or fresh fruit juices. If your child is getting their meals in school, help them select healthier servings. The school menu must have a variety of foods to choose from, if not give some feedback, or just default back to packing home prepared food for your child.

Kids are kids, and they will still be tempted to eat well-marketed junk. Allow some carefree days when they can have what they fancy. But keep it in check. They need to understand that all those fries and fizzy drinks are laden with unhealthy fats and sugars. Encourage them to remain physically active. This will burn all those unwanted calories, and help with their growing bones and muscles. Aim for at least an hour daily of whatever physical activities they enjoy, anything less is not good enough.

Don’t tire of reminding your children about seemingly mundane healthy habits. Washing hands must be ingrained into their routines. Many infectious childhood diseases can easily be prevented just by good hand hygiene. Talk more to your kids about the ills of drink and drugs. Don’t shy off telling them about sexual health as they transit into puberty.

After-school homework must be moderated to allow for some good rest prior to the next day. Make sure your child gets at least 8 hours of good sleep every night. It’s not all about academics, encourage your kids to pursue other talents. This will nurture their developing brains and give them more life skills as they mature.

Finally, make sure your children get all the recommended vaccines. And if they fall sick, as will happen occasionally, get them seen by a good pediatrician in good time.

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