Thankfully, we live in a nation with access to top-notch medical care for our kids, but most of a child's growth into a healthy adult occurs outside of the pediatrician's office. Find out how to improve your kid's wellness through these natural and smart tips for healthy living.
You don't need to spend a ton of money and time to boost your child's health. Instead, make small lifestyle choices to improve your child's immune functioning, development and overall well-being. These ideas for natural child health are easy on the wallet and easy to implement.
Catch some rays
Vitamin D is vital for your child's healthy bone and immune system development, but many kids (and adults) border on vitamin D deficiency. One of the main sources of vitamin D is the sun's rays, but increasingly, kids spend their waking hours indoors. Just 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight per day will give your child all the vitamin D he needs. Encourage sun exposure before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to minimize the risk of sun damage.
The USDA recommends that kids and adults eat two servings of fish per week, but most Americans consume far less than the recommended total. Unfortunately, this means that most people are missing important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from their diets. These fatty acids are key for healthy development and cell turnover. Try adding a few servings of fish to your child's diet each week for optimal health.
Let them be little
Forget team sports, at least when your child is very small. Instead, just take him to a park and watch what happens. Kids are naturally energetic and love to exercise, so if you create a framework for healthy exercise, he'll naturally participate. Don't deplete your child's love for everyday exercise by providing too much structure.
Plant a garden
Your kids benefit in two ways when your family plants a garden: They get dirty, and they learn to love veggies. Believe it or not, children need to interact with dirt, soil and dust to build a healthy immune system for life, so it's actually good for them to get dirty in a garden. Also, kids are more likely to enjoy fresh veggies if they've participated in planting and harvesting the produce.
Wallow in bacteria
The good bacteria found in human intestinal tracts is important for healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. Unfortunately, many kids struggle with tummy ailments because their digestive systems are out of whack. Provide your kids with probiotics, like pediatrician-recommended Culturelle, to give good bacteria a fighting chance.
Soak it all in
Bath time is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child, but it's also a time to boost her health. Add a dash of Epsom salt to your child's bath water to soothe itchy skin and encourage a restful night of sleep. The practice will also address magnesium deficiency, which is linked to anxiety and insomnia.
Speaking of protein sources, Americans are notorious meat lovers, much to the dismay of our waistlines and cholesterol levels. Consider replacing meat with beans and rice a few times a week. The beans contain healthy protein as well as a full range of minerals that are often missing from diets.
Breastfeed for immunity
The benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented, so one of the best things you can do for your child's health is to breastfeed for as long as you feasibly can. Breast milk contains antibodies and white blood cells that can guard your child's immune system for years to come.
Jog (their systems)
Chronic constipation is a top complaint for kids and parents across the U.S. Sometimes, kids benefit from the intervention of medicine and stool softeners, but parents should first try natural remedies for the problem. Send your child outside to play, jog and jump, and then follow the exercise with plenty of water. Your child's constipation will most likely take care of itself after a good dose of exercise.
Love the family bed
Sleep is incredibly important for your child's health, but many kids don't get the recommended hours of shut-eye each night. Although the decision to co-sleep is personal, your children may obtain more hours of high-quality sleep if you share a bed (make sure you understand how to do so safely before embarking on the co-sleeping adventure).
How do you make sure your child stays healthy and strong? Tell us in the comments section below.
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