Raising healthy children is topmost priority for all parents. And by healthy children we mean, focusing not only on their physical growth and health but mental and social well being too. We all know that the way we nurture our children in their early formative years, affects their growth and health later in life.
As young and brand new parents, twelve years ago, KG and I decided to give a healthy start to our lil baby. We decided that in order to raise a healthy child, we will make it a family affair ie both of us would be equal partners in nurturing our child (ok, I had a larger role to play for obvious reasons!) and secondly, we will keep it simple.
Eat Right : The first thing that was on our agenda was to give the right and balanced nutrition to our child. We all know that healthy eating habits helps to maintain healthy weight and growth. So, we followed a few rules religiously on our dining table.
- We believe that the family that eats together stays together. So, we made meal time a family time, especially dinners. While, lunch is an affair between Aaryan and me.
- Eat whatever is cooked at home. Finish whatever is in the plate… is the mantra that we have inculcated in our son and we follow it too.
- Since KG is a chef by passion, a variety of healthy foods and snacks are a given in our home, making the dining table one happy place to be at. Ok, sometimes there were a few frowns but our meal times were never a battle zone.
- Given the unhealthy temptations we are exposed to now-a-days, and we do have to give in to a burger today or an aerated drink there and not to mention the chips and chocolates. But we have opted for healthier options viz cooking with olive oil, milk and fresh juices over canned options, more fruits and vegetables etc.
Power of Play : Science has proven that a lot of brain development happen when a child is involved in a physical activity. Playing outdoors is not just a fun activity but helps the child to learn the rules of the game in the outside world, dealing with peers, wins and losses, and get the necessary mental, physical and social skills to succeed in his adult life.
- An hour of physical activity out with friends in the evening was something we encouraged for Aaryan. So, he would play hide and seek or cycle or play cricket or football or learn karate and come home happy with lots of stories to share and release of energy making him tired and hungry and ready to attack his food with gusto.
- Jenga blocks, snakes and ladder, jig saw puzzles, reading story books, re-entered our lives as we played these games with our child, indoors. This not only helped us to bond as a family but also gave Aaryan that push to be more creative, expressive and imaginative too.
- Family trips to parks, museums, zoos or just a drive around the city with the child helped to broaden his learning horizon.
Needless to say that maintaining these healthy habits ensured that our visits to the doctors were restricted usually to get the age-specific immunization shots. We amalgamated healthy nutritious food along with physical activity in our life and all this not only kept our child fit and healthy but helped us to be more disciplined and conscious of our health. Our involvement as parents in his early years gave him that sense of security and helped us become a close-knit family. Today, we have so many fond memories of growing up and growing close as a family —thanks to our child and our determination to give him the best.
It is true that a healthy child makes for a healthy and a happy home, indeed.