Parents have an important role in the lives of their children, not only as caregivers, but also as role models. Children watch and mimic their parents’ lifestyle choices as well as their behaviors, including what and when we eat, drink, how we structure our free time, and our sleep habits.
Nutrition and adequate sleep are paramount in one’s overall wellness. The day should start with a healthy, balanced breakfast before school or work. Breakfast jump starts our metabolism and prepares us for the mental and physical demands of the day.
Parents should set times during the week to offer opportunity to exercise or engage in physical activity for themselves and their children. Whether this is walking or bicycling at the end of the day or playing soccer outside in the yard. As a healthcare provider, I advocate one hour five days a week of physical activity to all my patients. I try to encourage my parents to do the same to stay healthy and engage with their children.
Children need adequate sleep at night, which can be anywhere from 9 hours for older children to 10-12 hours for younger children. This often means limiting evening activities so that homework can be finished early enough for optimal sleep habits. Studies have proven that getting adequate sleep at night helps children’s immunity as well as their ability to learn in school. Again, parents should practice what they preach with good sleep habits themselves. With adequate sleep, we are more patient with our families as well our professions.
Children are more likely to lead healthy, productive, and successful lifestyles when they grow up in an environment where wellness is respected and promoted. For more tips on healthy living, visit the Pediatricians at Baton Rouge Clinic.