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Children fall sick all the time and are bound to catch a bug or the sniffles, and although some may say that this helps your little one build up her immune system, no parent wants to see their kid unwell.
So here are 10 ways you can help boost your child’s health so that she will continue to grow and develop to her full potential.
Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants -- these are good for health, and protection against diseases.
For example, broccoli contains excellent source of vitamin C which is good for immunity; Papaya has excellent source of beta carotene which is good for eye health.
Without these important nutrients, children may be stunted and it could possibly even impact the development of their mental and motor skills.
Different types of fruits and vegetables have a mixture of different type of substances -- the tip is to add fruits and vegetables of different colours into your kids’ daily diet.
If you are feeding your kids with green broccoli, add some carrots or corns; or you can also add some seaweed on top of white rice, for the extra good taste and health benefits.
Living in sunny Singapore, it shouldn’t be too difficult to let your child get a healthy dose of vitamin D from all the sunlight exposure.
According to the National Health Service, vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are essential minerals for healthy bones and teeth.
If your child has vitamin D deficiency, this can cause her bones to become soft and weak, which can lead to rickets or other bone deformities.
Sun exposure help kids in getting 80% of the vitamin D requirement, but there are also some foods naturally containing vitamin D that you can add into your kid's diet such as fatty fishes like salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines.
Kids are curious by nature and constantly touch or pick up things to explore the world around them – but this can also cause them to come into contact with germs and become vulnerable to infectious diseases like diarrhoea, acute respiratory diseases and Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD).
The Health Promotion Board encourages you to help your little one chase the germs away by washing her hands often with soap and water, especially after going to the toilet, touching common surfaces, playing with pets, and before eating.
Parents and caregivers should also lead by example and practice good personal hygiene.
It is important for your little one to get enough sleep in order to develop and function properly.
If your child does not get the sufficient amount of sleep or the best quality of sleep, this may affect her temperament, learning and social behaviour.
A survey done by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) revealed that more than a third of lower Primary school students show signs of sleep deprivation, which can lead to deteriorating grades in school, poor decision-making skills and a higher risk of displaying symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If your child is like most kids (and even some adults!), then she probably has a sweet tooth and enjoys eating candy, chocolate and having sugary drinks.
But the Health Promotion Board warns that added sugar will only provide extra calories to your child's diet and also offers not much other nutritional value, so make sure that your child gets a well-balanced diet.
It is important to pay attention to sugar or sugar substitute especially in processed food -- sucrose, fructose, honey and maple syrup are all sorts of sugar added into cookies, cereal and snacks.
Although it’s ok to indulge every now and then, excessive sugar consumption can promote growth of bad bacteria in mouth causing tooth decay and also undesirable weight gain, so it’s important that you to read the label because purchase food for kids, keep the sweet treats to a minimum and teach your child to adopt healthy eating habits from young.
You might wonder what sort of stress children would have, because all they have to worry about is playing and keeping good grades – but it’s tough being a kid sometimes and childhood anxiety and stress is not uncommon.
Your child could be worried about performing well in school; how she fits in with all her friends; or any major changes in her life such as moving to a new neighbourhood, or going to a new school, or even having the addition of a new younger sibling.
According to Dr Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a Family and Child Development expert, by helping your little one reduce her stress, this will in turn boost her academic performance and IQ, so parents are encouraged to let kids have free play, listen to soothing music and practice relaxation techniques as a family.
It is difficult to completely avoid environmental toxins around us while living in the city and we are exposed to air pollution on a daily basis from tobacco smoke, car exhaust fumes, household cleaning products, certain building materials, and the haze.
One of the most common air pollutants is cigarette smoke and the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) warns that children who are exposed to second-hand smoke have an increased risk of health problems such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, wheezing and coughing.
You can control the quality of air in your house by restricting cigarette smoking to outdoors only, switching to chemical-free household cleaners, investing in a good air purifier and getting a few indoor plants that can help to clean up the air.
If your kid is constantly glued to his media device or is mostly cooped up indoors watching television and playing computers games during most of his free time, you should encourage him to take part in more physical activities.
Mr Micheal Lim, Head and Senior Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Sports Medicine Programme at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) says, “Beyond physical benefits, exercise positively influences the mental, emotional and cognitive development of children.”
You can exercise together as a family and have fun participating in physical activities such as taking long walks, running, cycling, swimming – or even fun games with the younger ones such as playing tag, hopscotch, ball games and exploring the playground.
When your child hurts himself, he will probably head straight to you for comfort, such as a kiss on his painful “boo boo”, or a warm hug to help soothe him.
A study done by the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has discovered that hugs can actually help fight off illnesses and infections and even boost your immune system – frequent hugs can even protect you from the increased susceptibility to infections related to stress.
So it’s good to shower your little one with physical affection to not only show how much you love him but also help strengthen his immunity as well as your parental-child bond.
Protein is important for your child’s growth, support recovery and immune system function.
Fish, chicken, and dairy are good sources of protein that provide all the essential amino acids your little one needs.
Amino acids are smaller units that make up protein and essential amino acids are those that we have to get from food.
Essence of Chicken contains hydrolysed protein that is easily absorbed by body, and it is rich in amino acids which are important for bodily functions.
What do you do to help boost your child’s health? Do you exercise together as a family, or let him take health supplements, or give him plenty of hugs and kisses? Share your comments with us below.
Dew is a teacher, theatre practitioner and playwright who is raising her daughter to know that anything boys can do, girls can do better!
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