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Ask any parent what they want in life for their child, and 9 times out of 10, the answer will be something along the lines of “I want my child to be happy and healthy”. What parents learn as they raise their kids is that the path to ensuring this does not always feel so clear and straightforward. Life can be challenging, especially for children as they navigate their environment. Not to mention the risks to their health that come with growing up in a social, and interactive, sometimes scary, world. Many factors influence a child’s health both with and within a parent’s sphere of influence. After all, as a parent, you are only human and there is only so much you can control. This discussion is going to look at tips and advice on ways you can keep your child as happy and healthy as possible in manageable and achievable ways.

Play, Play, Play!

Children discover the world through play. It is their primary occupation and should be absolutely encouraged and supported as much as possible. Sometimes for parents, playing does not seem like it should be a priority and they would rather their child focus on schoolwork or other tasks that do not make a mess or a noise. However, children must be allowed enough freedom to play safely. This often means that parents need to get down on their child’s level and join in, whether it’s in the sand, a puddle, or unpacking the drawers. This type of engagement will make your children feel understood and seen in their world. Sometimes this is not always an option, and life gets busy and demanding. However, as much as possible, parents should try to encourage and allow messy, physical play. If the weather permits, the outdoors are great too, but not essential. The beauty of children is that they have active imaginations so many household items or menial things can become inventive toys. As long as they are safe, this type of play should be promoted.

Let’s Talk About What Eating

When it comes to mealtimes, from the moment you introduce your cherub to the world of food, you want to keep it as stress-free as possible. Mealtimes are an opportunity for your child to explore the sensory properties of his or her meal, develop skills such as feeding him or herself and picking up fine pieces. To keep your mealtimes as happy for everyone as possible, why not pull up your baby’s high chair to the table and enjoy your meal as a family (this might mean bringing supper time a bit earlier). Your baby will feel included and become accustomed to the social element of eating, which will be a life-long experience. Nowadays there is a wide range of ergonomically designed high chairs as can be seen on to suit your preference, baby, and budget. These chairs all support the ideal position and height-adjustability so that your baby can eat in a safe and supported way.

What you feed your baby is also your responsibility as a parent. While it is the responsibility of your child to eat as much or as little as they choose. By respecting a child’s hunger and satiety cues, he or she will feel heard, and thus happier. Parents can reduce their load by cooking one meal for the whole family and serving the baby the same option. Provided it does not have salt or any choking-sized contents. Meals served should be healthful, with a wide variety of nutrient-dense ingredients.

A Tired Baby Is Often A Grumpy Baby

Do not underestimate the importance of solid, uninterrupted sleep in your little one’s daily routine. If you ensure that your infant or child has the opportunity to nap, as well as have a full night’s sleep, he or she will be happier and healthier for it. It will also likely result in the overall improved health of the whole family unit. If your child struggles with bedtime, try to create a calming and predictable nightly routine such as a bath, dim lights, a story, snuggle and sleep. This will act as a cue to him or her that it is time to start winding down for the day.

Raising a child is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging parts of life. The love for a child can feel overwhelming at times, especially because we just want the best for them. Their health and happiness feel like the most important goal, but achieving it is not always as clear-cut as we wish it to be. This discussion goes back to the basics, looking at the ways that you can connect with your little ones, support them to engage in safe and healthy daily activities, and continue to love them in the unconditional way you do.