5 Parenting Mantras: How to aid your child’s growth
Created by Dr.Jayashree Shiwalkar Updated on Jul 28, 2020
We know that heredity plays a significant role – for instance, children born to tall parents tend to be tall; obesity may run in families and so on. These factors are not under our immediate control. What is in our hands though is to make the child reach his or her full genetic potential (and more) by taking care of the other factors. Here are some tips to help achieve that…
There is no doubt that nutrition has a key role to play in your child’s growth. Nearly 25 percent of the caloric intake is devoted to growth. A child who is not eating well will show poor weight gain, slow growth and diminished ability to fight infections. On the other hand, eating unhealthy foods will lead to obesity. Hence it is important to eat well – and eat right!
· Stick to a routine – starting with breakfast. Choose easy options like banana for school days
· Make healthy snacks like fruit more readily available than packages namkeens, chips
· Research supports an ideal intake of 5 portions of fruits or vegetables a day
· Less sugar/unsaturated fats and more of lentils/beans/poultry/fish
· Encourage your child to drink 7-8 glasses of water a day. Limit access to drinks with added sugar
· Pack in a combination of favourite and healthy food in the lunch box to improve acceptability
It is important to be physically active for maintaining growth. Exercise indirectly stimulates secretion of the growth hormone (the chemical that promotes growth, particularly height) and also helps in weight management. Sedentary lifestyle is the cause and consequence of unhealthy weight gain.
· Children should get a minimum of 60 mnts of moderate outdoor play activity each day –cycling, swimming, skipping, dancing – whatever activity your child enjoys
· Screen time (phone/computer/TV etc) should be limited to 1-2 hours a day
Just as it is essential to keep active, it is necessary to get adequate restful sleep. Sleep is linked to hormone levels and science has shown that growth hormone gets secreted mainly during deep sleep. So there is some truth in the observation that children seem to grow overnight! Sleeping less may also affect hormones that regulate appetite causing an unhealthy craving for high calorie foods.
· The ideal sleep duration is 11-13 hours for preschoolers and 10-11 hours for school-going children
· Set a bedtime routine. Aim for children to be in bed by 8-9 pm. Be flexible on weekends
· Avoid caffeine containing foods like chocolates/soda close to bedtime
· Switch off TV/gadgets 1 hour before sleeping
4. Emotional Wellbeing
Stress and emotional health not only affect a child’s cognitive development but can also impact their physical growth. Extreme emotional deprivation in young children is known to interfere with growth hormone and cause growth faltering. Chronic anxiety in older kids may raise the specific hormone level that causes increased appetite and early puberty.
· The key to picking up problems early is communication. Take out time to listen to your child by adjusting your work-life balance
· Foster healthy relationships with friends and family
· Encourage creative outlets like writing/music
· Take care of your own emotional health too – remember a stable parent makes a stable child!
Children tend to copy their parents and follow family habits. Therefore, we need to set the right example and make the necessary changes at home in a graded practical way.
· Adopt a healthy lifestyle as a family – eat together and plan fun activities to involve family members
· Be aware but not obsessive about what is ideal for the child…remember one size does not fit all!
· Keep up with immunisations and growth monitoring during clinic visits
Your effort as apparent should be to provide children with a healthy nourishing diet, an active lifestyle with adequate sleep, in a stable loving environment, so as to watch them grow to their full potential!
Disclaimer: The views, opinions and recommendations expressed in this article are of Dr. Jayashree Shiwalker and intended as an educational aid. This is an awareness drive powered by Horlicks Growth Plus to help your child catch up on lost growth. Horlicks Growth plus is clinically proven to show visible signs of growth in six months. You are encouraged to obtain professional advice concerning specific health / medical matters.
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