Healthy kids are every parent’s hope and prayer. I remember during my pregnancy, while everyone was talking about the sex of our baby and our plans and wishes for its future success, the older people said, “The most important thing is that you have a healthy child”. We joked about is as an old people’s saying.
I turned into an “old person” when my 1-year-old daughter Eden was sick with pneumonia. She was on antibiotics for 6 months because as soon as she got off it, she got sick again. By the time she turned 2, she had had pneumonia for 6 months. We were at the mercy of the doctors and their medication, taking her to the hospital and worrying about her health. The head of the children’s ward at the biggest hospital in our area, who saw her for 6 months at his private clinic, said to us, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but your daughter is asthmatic. She will have to be on medication 6 months out of every year, so you’d better get ready”.
She was just so young and fragile and we were so scared we understood why those “old people” had wished her health.
Our life changed when we took responsibility over our own health and Eden’s and realized we had the power to raise healthy, happy kids.
Eden is 21 years old now. In the past 19 years, after we got rid of the pneumonia (and not with antibiotics or any other medication), she saw a doctor for her immunizations, chicken pox at the age of 6 and a throat infection at the age of 16. She had a cold last week and still has a runny nose, but she never went to the doctor.
I am a very good example of a parent who thinks we can do something to change our kids’ health, although I did not grow up with that thinking. My mom raised 5 sick kids and she still thinks medication is the cure for everything. To her, “doctor” is a kind of god that must be obeyed, even when her doctor keeps her waiting, ignores her symptoms and gets things wrong. She has been sick all her life and she does not have any health strategy.
I believe that kids’ health (and their parents’ health) is an important part of parenting. I am in a constant search for tips and tricks to keep my kids healthy, so I decided to ask the Top Parenting Bloggers about their attitude towards ensuring their kids’ health.
How do you keep your kids healthy?
Annie – PhD in Parenting
We try to offer them a balanced diet and in the event that they do not take us up on that offer, we offer vitamin supplements and keep encouraging (but not forcing) them to try new foods. Our daughter eats an excellent variety of foods, whereas our son is as meat and potatoes kind of guy.
We ensure that they get lots of fresh air and exercise, which is critical to both their physical and mental health.
We encourage them to think through problems and to address their emotions, which helps keep them mentally healthy.
Ria Sharon – My Mommy Manual
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. I am a big believer that their growing bodies and brains really need sleep to develop. It makes a big difference in their temperament and in staying healthy. And of course, healthy food, vitamins, exercise.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo – Single Dad
We all cook together…
Sue Scheff – Sue Scheff Blog
Purell Hand Sanitizer. Kidding, sort of. However, hand washing has to be taught from a young age and carried into their teen years. Teaching your children not to share drinks and other items that go from mouth to mouth can help.Some parents believe in vitamins. That is a personal decision. I used them when my kids were younger, however we eventually stopped.
Susan Heim – Susan Heim on Parenting
I encourage plenty of outdoor play, monitor their eating habits and make sure they get plenty of rest. It sounds pretty simple, but diet, exercise and sleep really are the “big three” in keeping our kids healthy!
Annie Fox, M.Ed. – From the desk of Annie Fox
Know what they need in terms of nutrition, sleep, activity, intellectual and creative stimulation, social skill-building and… a stable nurturing family life.
Then do your best to provide what you can.
Maria Melo – Conversations with Moms
Encourage them to play outside as much as possible and limit their time in front of the TV. I play music around my house a lot and have fun dancing with my children. I also try to teach them good eating habits and although I allow them to eat the occasional junk food, I try to teach them about the importance of balance in their diets.
I’ve been lucky in that my oldest son has a dislike for soda drinks, probably because it is non-existent in my house. Our drink of choice at home is water.
Ronit Baras – Family Matters
We buy lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. 75% of what we eat (by weight) is fruits and vegetables. Our kids just eat what they find in the refrigerator and pantry.
Get a good night’s sleep. On school days, our kids go to sleep between 8 and 8:30 and sleep for 10 hours. My son is nearly 15 and still sleeps 10 hours every day (he dreams up new music…). If they want to stay up, they need to prove they can wake up energetic the next day. If they are cranky, fussy and agitated, it is a sign they did not get enough sleep, so off to bed early they go.
We meditate. We did a Transcendental Meditation course when Eden was 10 and Tsoof was 4. It keeps them focused and alert. Gal and I can tell when they meditate and when they do not. When they are confused, we ask about it and suggest they meditate for a while.
At the first sign of sickness, I say, “Vitamin C to the rescue“. In high dosage (1,500 to 3,000mg a day), I believe it boosts the immune system and keeps them from becoming sick. It works!
Keep them doing something that makes them happy. I help my kids find things that make them happy and encourage them to do those things. Happiness is a great chemical state, whereas stress is the ultimate enemy. Smiling releases good hormones, so get your kids to smile a lot.
I promote being healthy. When we moved to Australia, I found out people stayed home sick if they sneezed, so I made an agreement with my kids that if they stayed healthy for the whole term, they can take 1 day off school whenever they want and have fun with me. It works!
Plant healthy thoughts in your kids’ mind. I tell my kids they are healthy and strong every day. “Tomorrow, you’ll feel better after a good night’s sleep”. When friends say, “I don’t want to bring my son to play, because he is sick”, I say, “You can bring him, because my kids never get sick” (and they do not!). I learned from a principal who attended one of parenting workshops an awesome trick. When his kids start getting sick, he tells them, “You’re really good at getting better”. I love this! Watch what you say to your kids.
This is the last chapter of the Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss. Many thanks to the Top Parenting Bloggers: Sue Scheff, Annie Fox, Richard Jaramillo, Ria Sharon, PhD Annie, Maria Melo and Susan Heim and for sharing their thoughts and experience throughout the series.
If you want to know more about the bloggers who take part in this project or contact any of them, please visit their blogs, follow them on Twitter and/or become their fan on Facebook.
With the questions I have received from readers I am planning another series of expect discussions. If you want your questions answered too, write them in the comment box below.
This post is part of the series Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss:
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (1): Introduction
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (2): Parenting Challenges
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (3): Best Parent Qualities
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (4): Parenting Changes Life
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (5): Ideal Child
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (6): Education
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (7): What drives you nuts?
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (8): Discipline
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (9): Profound Parenting Moment
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (10): Parenting Tips
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (11): Government Policy Suggestions
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (12): Parenting Boys and Girls
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (13): Parenting Teens
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (14): How to Keep Your Kids Healthy