As parents, it can sometimes seem as though our list of responsibilities never ends. As well as working our own jobs we have to cook, clean, entertain the family and ferry our children around between school and activities. It can often feel like an uphill battle to get everything done on a day-to-day basis! But one of the main challenges we face is encouraging our children to be healthy and to helping them look after themselves. After all, we are not going to be around forever to chaperone them – and studies show that if healthy habits are developed in childhood, they are much more likely to last into adult life too. Here are some common problems you might face when trying to teach your child healthy habits, and how to overcome them.
Brushing their teeth
A lot of children have a severe distaste of brushing and flossing their teeth, or of letting you brush their teeth for them. To small children, toothbrushes are alien objects that can easily incite fear into them. But, even if brushing is traumatic, you need to persist at encouraging your child to brush their teeth, so they can avoid gum and tooth decay. There are a few obvious things you can try, such as buying a smaller toothbrush and using a child-friendly toothpaste, such as a cherry flavoured one. Remember that young children love to copy things – let your child in the bathroom with you whilst you brush your teeth. Mimic an exaggerated sense of enjoyment whilst you do so. That way, he or she may be more inclined to brush their own teeth too. When it comes to flossing, many children don’t like the sensation of the string on their gums. If you’re looking for another option, read this water flosser reviews to see if it would be a suitable alternative.
Getting them to take a shower
In a similar vein, a lot of young children have a deep-rooted fear of showering or of being in a bath. This can be due to an irrational fear of getting water in their eyes, or it could be linked to a previous negative experience to do with water. But whatever the reason, it is vital that you encourage your children to use the shower on a regular, if not daily basis. As well as taking care of their personal hygiene, it can help them to integrate more with their peers – often a child who smells can be a victim of bullying. Make bath or shower time fun by letting them bring some waterproof toys in with them, or by using bright-colored bubble bath and soap. If your child is scared of getting water in their eyes, consider investing in a bath time visor.
It will come as no surprise to any parent that their child hates vegetables. The answer as to why they hate them so much, however, can differ from child to child. If you have previously snuck veggies into your child’s favourite dish, they may have a distrust of them. Plus, children at a young age do not value health – they value taste and the instant energy they get from sugary drinks and fast food. If you want your kids to eat more veggies, you’ll need to approach the situation pragmatically. Don’t ever force feed them anything, as you will only be worsening the situation. Set an example by eating vegetables yourself, and bring in a reward system to encourage them to do it too.