You can support the health and wellbeing of your child by providing opportunities for physical activity, a balanced diet, enough sleep, and quality time with family and friends.
Good food and staying active
A healthy diet is essential for normal growth and brain development and protects against chronic diseases. Young children need nutritious food for playing and learning.
Sixty minutes of exercise every day is recommended and has many benefits for your child. It will boost their immune system, improve circulation, assist with better sleep, and make them feel good about themselves. It will also assist with the important development of their motor skills and lays the foundation for a healthy and active life.
Children will learn to value exercise through their parents being good role models. By planning regular physical activities that the whole family can enjoy, exercise will become part of your lifestyle.
The importance of sleep
Good sleep habits and routines should continue to be a priority for children in their primary school years. As they transition to busy school days, having enough sleep will help your child to be alert and ready to learn.
Your child’s behaviour will often be a guide as to whether or not they are getting enough sleep. Is it hard to get them going in the morning? Are they grumpy and hard to manage? Then you know they need more sleep.
Bedtimes may need to be adjusted and even moved forward. Maintaining bedtime routines will help.
Try these suggestions in the lead up to bedtime:
- Limit screen time.
- Read a story together.
- Encourage calm, relaxing activities.
Emotions and communication
As well as physical health, it is important that parents are tuned in to the emotional needs of their children. Children’s ability to manage their feelings is a critical part of their development.
Emotional development is greatly influenced by the quality of relationships. Good communication with your child and making time to talk about feelings and emotions is time well spent.
This will ensure your child’s long-term mental health.
Want to know more?
KidsMatter – Social and emotional wellbeing
KidsMatter – How mental health difficulties affect children
Raising Children Network – Health concerns articles
Raising Children Network – Children’s mental health 3-8 years
Raising Children Network – Healthy lifestyle articles
Raising Children Network – Physical activity for older children