Your child’s health – Get involved  

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March focuses on School Health Week and while teachers have certain responsibilities, so to do parents when it involves their children.

Raising a child is not an easy task and parents may not always have all the answers but they need to keep at it. Children do better in school when parents get involved in their health, wellness and academic life.

What are some of a parent’s responsibilities and what are some of the things parents can do to help a child? ER24 offers the following advice:

  • Are your young ones up to date with their vaccinations? Remember that vaccinations protect children from serious illnesses and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases. Ensure that they have received their vaccinations.
  • General regular health check-ups are necessary, especially for younger children, to determine if they are developing well. It is vital that a child’s sight and hearing for example are also checked. Regular visits to the dentist are necessary. If your child is not feeling well, seek medical attention. Also, do not send them to school if they risk spreading their illness to other children.
  • What is your child eating? Ensuring that your child has a healthy eating plan is important. Cook more meals at home instead of buying takeaways. Explain to your child why taking care of their health is important. Let children join you in deciding what goes into their lunchbox. Help them understand why fruits, vegetables and lean meats for example are good for them. Teach them about what to look for on food labels and about nutritional values once they are old enough to understand. Also, influence them not to buy unhealthy food while at school. You may not be able to cut down on all the sugar and salt but you can limit sweets, chips, chocolates, sugary drinks and other unhealthy food.
  • Encourage participation in sports activities. Choose sports that a child seems to be interested in. This will not only improve a child’s physical health but will also boost self esteem as they get better in the activity, allow them to make more friends, teach them about teamwork and time management.
  • Spend quality time together. Doing fun activities together or spending time together at home can help build a bond with your child. Ask them how was their day at school and help them with their homework. This will help you assess how your child is doing and build a closer relationship with them.
  • One of the most difficult tasks for many parents is having “that talk”. It may be difficult but it is something that has to be done. Difficult topics like sex have to be discussed to educate children about the implications and possible dangers. It is also important to educate them about the danger of drug use, smoking and consumption of alcohol.
  • Peer pressure, stress, depression, bullying, difficulty in being able to grasp certain subjects in school… these are common problems youth face. Have an open and close relationship with your child. Children will be more comfortable coming to you for help if there is trust and a close bond. Seek the assistance of counsellors where needed. Also educate children about issues like abuse, violence and sexual assault. Let them know that they can come to you for help. People who are aware of parents who are guilty of these crimes should report it to the police.
  • Rules, boundaries and responsibility are important. From setting a bedtime, homework time, television time, going out to visit friends time… create reasonable rules and boundaries and teach children about responsibility. Be consistent in your decisions and remember not to be overprotective. This is essentially teaching them life skills. Also remember to set a good example.

Also read:

Why bullying should be taken seriously

Sexual assault – Don’t keep it a secret

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