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Tips to keep your kids healthy

As a parent, your children’s health is likely your number one priority. Youngsters don’t always have the best understanding of what makes them healthy and why taking care of themselves is important, so it’s your job to help educate them.

Setting an example

The best way to teach your kids about healthy living is to demonstrate good behaviors yourself if you go out bike riding with your children, for example, wear a helmet – and always snap on your seatbelt while in the car. Be sure to talk openly and honestly about what measures you’re taking to promote your own health. For example, you can have a discussion over dinner about what’s on your plate and why it helps your body stay fit.

Beating the heat

The biggest threat to health for kids and adults has to do with the heat. Have a discussion with your children about the importance of staying hydrated. Make sure they have plenty of water with them when they go outside to play with friends, and make them aware of signs of dehydration like headaches, a dry mouth and dizziness. Of course, the sun’s radiation can also pose a threat. Ensure your kids have a good pair of sunglasses, a long- or wide-brimmed cap and a thick layer of sunscreen every time they go outside for 20 minutes or more.

Get private health insurance

Though your kids’ basic checkups and visits with their GP will be covered by Medicare, you never know when your child may require a visit to an out-of-hospital specialist. Private health insurance can also make orthodontic or cosmetic dental visits more affordable, which is important for kids who may need or want braces to correct their teeth alignment. There are many private health funds designed specifically for active families, which will help you ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. This will allow your children to take advantage of certain treatments, such as physio appointments and eye therapy, which are typically not included under Medicare. Some funds also pay benefits on other child-related services such as swimming lessons, yoga, pilates, sports mouthguards, orthodontics and health appliances.

Turn off the electronics

If given the choice between playing a video game or going for a hike, many children today will opt for the former. Though it may cause some pouts and maybe a tantrum, requiring your kids to get outside and play will be good for their health. Think up some fun games you can enjoy as a family outside. For instance, when travelling to the beach, see who can collect the most interesting shells. Be sure you remind your youngsters to apply sunscreen, and make sure they don’t spend too many hours in direct sun.

Make sure you get enough sleep

Children need about 10 hours of sleep per night. Very young kids also benefit from naps during the day. Create a routine and make bedtime special by getting ready for bed together, brushing teeth and singing a song or reading a story in bed. Though it may be tempting for parents to use their smartphones or tablets while lying in bed before drifting off, the bright light from these screens can cause you to feel more awake than you actually are, making sleep difficult to achieve. Always make sure you get enough sleep as insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions.

Author: Patrick Linsen

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