Monday, August 12, 2013

Teaching Your Kids to be Responsible About Their Health -- Guest Post

Teaching Your Kids to be Responsible About Their Health

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Good health isn’t a matter of luck. Although genetics does play a part in how susceptible we are to disease and illness, lifestyle is equally – if not more – important in maintaining good health over the course of your life. By teaching your kids how to be responsible about their health, you can ensure that they start out on the road to good health with their best foot forward.
Here are three steps you can take to ensure that your kids know how to take care of their bodies and why good health is so important.
Teach How Their Bodies Work
Kids feel hunger and thirst, as well as the urge to go to the bathroom, and they may be curious as to why. When sickness makes them feel bad, the confusion – not knowing why – can be stressful and upsetting. Teach your kids, in an age-appropriate manner, how their bodies work: why they need to eat, for example, and why they get a fever when they’re sick.
  • Look for books and videos that can be used as a teaching tool for your kids. These tools can be a jumping-off point for further discussion, such as why they need to rest after they’ve been sick, why they need to eat healthy foods, and why they need to get exercise every day.
When kids understand why their bodies work like they do – and that they can be involved in taking care of their bodies properly – they are more likely to get excited about that involvement.
Why They Visit the Doctor
Visits to the doctor are a necessary part of every child’s life. When they feel well, they have to visit the doctor for checkups and routine immunizations. When they feel ill, they have to go for exams and prescriptions. These visits can often be frightening for a child.
  • Explain what doctors do, why they do it, and how it helps keep your kids’ bodies healthy. Understanding the reasons why they are being put through a stressful encounter with the doctor can reduce that stress.
  • Your child’s doctor can be a useful resource in this endeavor. As many traditional medical practices have a high patient caseload – leaving doctors with little time to spend on your child – consider acquiring a membership to a supplemental health program like MDVIP comprehensive primary care. With more time to spend on an office visit, your child’s doctor can take the time to get to know your child, make friends, and explain what they’re doing.
Proper Health Practices
Once your child understands how their body works and how doctor visits help them stay healthy, you can teach them how they can take action for themselves and be responsible for their own health. By following good health practices, they can grow up strong, prevent illness, and avoid doctor visits. Good health practices center around:
  • Germs. Teach your kids what germs are, and why it’s important to wash their hands after using the bathroom, sneezing, or blowing their nose. This can be extended to avoiding sharing drinks during flu season, and refraining from eating that chip they dropped on the kitchen floor.
  • Food. Eating healthy foods, especially fruits and vegetables, gives your kids more energy and better health overall. Get them involved in choosing and preparing their meals – whether it’s washing vegetables to deciding between mashed potatoes or rice as a side dish.
  • Exercise. Get your kids outside once a day. Sign them up for after-school sports, take them to the park, or play with them in the backyard. Teach them a love of fitness.
Kids need to learn how to be responsible for their bodies and their health. In order to foster long-lasting wellness, educate them about how their bodies work, how doctors can help prevent and treat illness, and what they can do all on their own to help stay healthy.

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