Raising Healthy, Happy Children


That's correct, you should get up and start moving! Sitting and watching your child play is not enough. If you are active, your child will want to be active too. Your child will have great memories of playing as a kid and they will certainly enjoy you as an active participant. Encourage sports early on as this teaches teamwork and gives a sense of accomplishment.

Don’t plan every minute

Your day is planned with errands and a to-do list, so by the end of the day you are ready to collapse. Children need breaks too. Take time during the day to relax. Let the child control parts of the day. The child may choose to participate in different activities than you. There will be an abundance of times when he/she will want to do what you do. Give in and do something they want once in a while. Don’t set everything in stone and be flexible when the schedule allows.

Relax as a family

Some children aren’t very good at relaxing. They will run until they pass out, if you let them. If it seems that your child does not know how to relax, take time to show them how to relax. Children learn by example. If they see mom or dad constantly running they’ll be likely to do the same. Take time to sit down and eat together. Have meaningful conversations to foster healthy relationships.

Be silly, Laugh more

Children have stress just like adults and one way to remove it is by laughing. Children are normally silly, so don’t be afraid to join in the fun. Don’t be grumpy. We want the child to have more happy memories than sad. It’s hard to laugh and cry at the same time, so if you can choose - choose laughter. Unsure how to start? Try these examples: Make funny faces in a mirror together, have “tickle time”, plant jelly beans outside, make animal noises and guess what animals they are, use stuffed animals to play leap frog with, make a tent with a sheet and chairs and picnic in it, have a party for your child's favorite toy or stuffed animal, or make hand painted pictures.

Whenever possible, praise your child

We often tell children what they are doing wrong, but it's nice for them to also hear what they have done right. We say things like “Don’t jump on the furniture”, “Don’t shoot that in here”, “Don’t be so noisy”, Don’t, Don’t, Don’t. Of course we need to avoid issues or dangerous activities but let’s encourage all the positive things your child does too. When disciplining try to exclude the word “don’t”. Not sure how? The next time your child slings a ball in the house try saying this: “Wow, you threw that very far, but ball throwing is dangerous in here, so let’s save it for outside”. Now, getting back to praising, be specific when your child does something good. Talk about the behavior you wish to reinforce  because this will help him remember what it is he did appropriately. For instance “Michael, you remembered your manners and said ”Thank You” without my asking. I am very proud of you” or “You did a terrific job helping me clean up these toys”. Be creative with the positive words you use. If you repeat the same thing too many times, it tends to lose its impact.