As we enter a new year, it’s common for everyone to make resolutions and set goals for themselves. Whilst these are great ways to start afresh and improve various aspects of our lives, it’s important to remember that health should not be treated as just another item on the list. As a paediatrician, we have seen first-hand the impact of setting health goals for children and the importance of starting early. That’s why we’ve put together the top 5 easy health goals for 2024 that cannot be ignored.
It’s never too early to start instilling healthy and fitness habits in our kids, setting them up for success in the long run. So let’s make a new year’s resolution to give our children the gift of health by being good examples and showing them how small steps can make a big difference in the future. And what better accountability partner than your paediatrician? Let’s work together to make these health goals achievable and watch our kids thrive.
Lessons Learnt from Past Experiences
Reflecting on the past year, we all had good intentions for our children’s health, but how many of us got sidetracked due to other commitments?
Let’s face it; life happens, and sometimes our children’s health takes a backseat. Maybe we allowed extra screen time because we were busy with work. Perhaps we opted for takeaways too frequently due to lack of time to prepare a nutritious meal. Or maybe, we allowed a skipped dentist appointment because we couldn’t get time off work.
Despite the best intentions, we sometimes falter in maintaining our children’s health due to our busy lives or simple unawareness. However, it’s essential to remember that we’re only human and shouldn’t berate ourselves too much about these missteps.
Awareness is the first step towards change. Acknowledging the areas we fell short in is a significant move in a positive direction. Armed with this new awareness, we can now begin to explore ways of providing our children with healthier options, prioritising their wellbeing, and working together to accomplish our health goals for the new year.
Why Health Goals Cannot Be Ignored
Our children’s health isn’t a matter of convenience; it’s an essential priority. We live in a world where viruses like COVID-19 are rampant and mutating, posing new challenges.
- Building robust immunity from early years can help equip our children to better handle these viruses, making symptoms less severe should they contract them.
- By focusing on nutrition and exercise, we’re not only contributing to their physical wellbeing but also to their cognitive development. A healthy diet and regular physical activity have been scientifically proven to enhance brain function, leading to sharper focus and better academic performance.
- The self-confidence they gain from being in optimal health and fitness sets them up for success, allowing them to tackle life’s challenges head-on. Our children are the future, and their health today will determine the adults they become tomorrow.
Let’s remember, good health isn’t an overnight achievement; it’s a continuous journey. Let’s prioritise health goals for our children, for their brighter, healthier future.
Top 5 Health Goals for Your Kids
- Nutritious Diet: Encourage a balanced and diverse diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Try to limit processed foods and sugary drinks. Involve your children in meal planning and preparation to instil a love for healthy food.
- Regular Exercise: A minimum of one hour of physical activity daily is recommended. This could be sports, cycling, walking, dancing or any other fun activity that gets them moving.
- Adequate Sleep: Establish a regular sleep routine and ensure that your children are getting the recommended amount of sleep for their age group. This helps their bodies rest, rejuvenate and be ready for the next day.
- Regular Health Check-ups: Timely immunisations and regular check-ups can prevent future health problems. Teach them about the importance of hygiene from a young age.
- Limit Screen Time: Encourage more outdoor play and less screen time. Excessive screen time can lead to various health issues like poor posture, eye strain and obesity.
These are simple yet essential goals for your child’s overall well-being. Keep reading to find out how we can make them achievable for both you and your children to follow and maintain lifelong.
Making Health Goals Achievable
To make these health goals achievable, consider incorporating them into your daily routine.
- Make meal times an event where the entire family gets involved in planning and preparing healthy dishes. Consider exploring various cuisines, introduce children to new flavours, making them appreciate the diversity of food. Use this time to educate your kids about nutritional value of different food items, this will encourage them to make healthier choices.
- For physical activity, try out family walks, dance-offs or bicycle rides, which not only contribute to your children’s health but also build family bonds. Encourage active participation in a team sport, as this can help children develop not only physical strength but also teamwork and leadership skills. Indoor activities such as yoga or light workout sessions can be introduced to maintain health on days with adverse weather conditions.
- Allocate a specific time for sleep and stick to the schedule as much as possible, creating a calming bedtime routine that aids in this process. For instance, this routine could include activities such as reading a bedtime story, having a warm bath, or listening to soft music to signal to your child that it’s time for bed. Ensure the room is dark and quiet to facilitate a peaceful environment conducive to good sleep.
- Make regular health and dental check-ups a fun learning experience rather than a daunting task. Engage your children by making a game out of it, for instance, who can have the healthiest teeth. Let them ask the health professional any queries they have, thus nurturing their curiosity and taking the fear out of doctor visits.
- Create a balance between screen time and outdoor activities by replacing video games with traditional outdoor games. For example, try reintroducing classic games such as hopscotch, rounders, or even a friendly game of football in the garden. This way, your children will stay active and learn social skills whilst having fun.
Remember, it’s all about creating a sustainable lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. It’s the consistent effort that will lead to significant changes in the long run. Keep the process enjoyable and make sure your children feel involved and motivated.
The Role of an Accountability Partner
Keeping health goals on track can be challenging, but a supportive partner can be a game-changer. Your paediatrician can serve as this ally, cheering on your family’s health journey, providing advice, and helping navigate any hurdles.
Take the first step towards a healthier future by booking an appointment with us today. Let your new year’s resolution be to foster optimal health for your family. Remember, a goal shared is a goal halved.