It goes without saying that parenthood is no walk in the park – and even more so if you are a working parent. Trying to juggle parenthood and work duties at the same time can take a toll on just about anybody. This is why it does not come as a surprise that some parents tend to overlook their children’s basic needs.
What are a child’s basic needs, you may ask? Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Get a good night’s rest
Adequate sleep is vital for your children as it has been proven to aid learning, improve memory, minimize impulsivity and hyperactivity, and enhance the immune system.
Eat a well-balanced diet
Ensure that your children’s daily diet consists of the five food groups: dairy (children are advised to consume 2-3 servings of milk and milk products daily); lean meat, fish and poultry; fruit; vegetables and grain. Also, minimize your children’s intake of salty and sugary foods by opting for healthier snacks such as carrots, apple slices, raisins and wholegrain crackers.
Keep teeth clean
Tooth brushing can commence as soon as your children’s first milk tooth breaks through (when your children are about 6 months old) and it must be for 2 minutes twice daily. Always use fluoride toothpaste, as it helps control or avoid tooth decay effectively.
Additionally, don’t forget to take your children for dental check-ups regularly. Make dental visits positive so your children won’t be afraid of the dentist.
Children should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. This is because exercise helps promote stronger bones and muscles, and lowers the risk of conditions eg, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Exercises should focus on three aspect of fitness: flexibility, strength and endurance. Examples of this type of exercise include swimming, badminton and cycling.
Wash those hands!
Germs are everywhere and it’s very likely that they are on your children’s hands. Therefore, proper hand hygiene is crucial for minimizing your children’s risk of infection eg, flu, the common cold and diarrhoea. Ensure your children wash their hands with warm water and soap (remember to lather up for 20 seconds or so). Remind your children to wash between their fingers, wrists and under the nails.
Healthy Kids Association. Available at www.healthy-kids.com.au
Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents. Available at www.moh.gov.my
Parenting. Available at www.parenting.com
Parents. Available at www.parents.com