Posts for: October, 2017
Too often, children fall into unhealthy routines when it comes to eating. These habits can jeopardize their long-term overall health, potentially leading to serious complications later in life. In fact, nearly 1 in 3 children in America is overweight or obese. That’s why the early years are important for building a child’s nutrition habits. By starting young and encouraging a fun, healthy diet, it’s possible to lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy, independent eating.
Here are a few simple tips for instilling healthy eating habits in your kids.
- Eat in moderation
Eating healthy doesn’t mean your kids can never have a little “junk” food as a treat. Teach your child the importance of moderation, healthy portion sizes and self-control when it comes to making daily food choices.
- Quality over quantity
Rather than making your child clean his plate, encourage him to eat slowly. This will help your child detect hunger and fullness better, preventing overeating and teaching portion control.
- Shop smart
If you don’t buy it, they can’t eat it. When shopping for foods choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. Stock up on healthy snacks for after school, and avoid buying too many junk foods or sugary drinks and sodas that are stumbling blocks to healthy eating.
- Pack smart for school
Be aware of your child’s school lunch options by reviewing the menu. Help your child understand how he can make good meal choices at school, and if you need to, pack your child a nutritious lunch to ensure he’s getting a variety of healthy foods that he likes to eat.
- Load up on fruits and vegetables
When cooking, introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables into your meals as a great way to get your kids to try—and even acquire a taste for—healthier foods. It may take several tries, so be persistent and creative in your meal planning.
- Set a good example
One of the best ways a parent can support healthy eating habits for their child is to model similar habits. Most kids are more willing to try foods if they see their parents enjoying them.
- Make meals family-time
Eat together as a family when possible, and make mealtime fun by trying new foods together.
Bottom line: Instilling healthy eating habits in children is an ongoing process that takes time and patience, but the benefits of a healthier lifestyle can last throughout their entire life. Talk to your child’s pediatrician for guidance if you have questions about your child’s eating habits or dietary needs.
Most young children use a pacifier or suck on their thumb or fingers. Sucking is a natural instinct for an infant and often sticks around as a comforting habit into the toddler years. However, this can be troublesome if your child persists sucking a thumb or pacifier past the age of four or when the permanent teeth begin erupting. The risk of these habits can lead to include overcrowded and crooked teeth, problems with the development of roof and mouth development and bite problems. Sometimes the front teeth may even tilt toward the lip or not come in properly.
Pacifiers and thumb sucking usually stop on their own when your child begins pre-school or kindergarten due to the peer pressure associated with begins around other children their age. However, if your child is having trouble giving up thumb sucking or a pacifier, your pediatrician can offer you some helpful suggestions.
How to Stop Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Dependence
As a first step in dealing with your child’s sucking habits, ignore them. Most often, your child will stop on his or her own. Instead of forcing a change, your pediatrician offers these helpful tips:
- Praise your child when he or she isn’t sucking their thumb or pacifier. Be positive and do not punish him or her.
- Reward your child if he or she does not resort to thumb sucking or a pacifier during stressful situations or falls asleep without sucking.
- Try trading the pacifier for another special toy.
- Don’t make it into a power struggle or a dramatic experience trying to wean your child off the pacifier. Be patient and always remain positive.
- Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety that may be causing your child to be dependent on sucking their thumb or a pacifier.
- Bandage the thumb or place a sock over the hand at night to remind your child of the habit.
- If serious enough, your dentist may also suggest a mouth appliance to block the ability to suck.
- In infancy, avoid ever dipping your child’s pacifier in honey, sugar or syrup.
For more advice or counseling about your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier habits, please visit your pediatrician. With their help, you can successfully wean your child off of their thumb sucking and pacifier habit.