By Angela Bekiaris: SO we’ve taught them to wash their hands, and to cover their noses when they sneeze. And that’s important, but that’s not all they need to know about health and keeping safe.
As we embark on a new year, it’s time to make sure our kids are safe and healthy in every way possible — and it’s up to us as parents to make sure it happens. So take some tips from the experts and make 2019 a fabulous year, at school and out!
Keep your kids safe at all times!
Don’t go near strangers
That means no talking to them, leaving with them or taking things from them at any time! While you don’t want to scare your children, sadly the reality is they need to know that strange people can be dangerous
Trust your instincts
They must learn to trust their instincts. If something looks or feels wrong, it probably is.
Use a buddy system
They must never go anywhere alone. If they need to walk somewhere or get something, they need to have a friend with them — and this goes for older kids, too.
Report suspicious activity
Should they see or hear something which doesn’t sound right, they should immediately call an adult — teacher, parent, whoever is around to help them.
They must know your name, number and address
Teach your kids your full name, cellphone number and address in case of an an emergency . Explain they then shouldn’t give this out to strangers, but they need to pass on the information in an emergency.
Playing with fire is dangerous
Whether at home or at school, they should know that playing or experimenting with fire is a no-no! Explain the dangers of fire and that is is absolutely not allowed at any given time.
No one can touch them
This is probably one of the most important, so make sure it goes in deep. No one is allowed to touch their bodies except for mommy and daddy. And if anyone does they need to tell you immediately.
Secrets are not allowed
Should anyone want to say or do something that is a ‘secret’, you child must know that that information needs tone passed on to you. There is no such thing as secrets between them and other adults — even adults they know.
If they get lost, they must stay put
Tell your kids to stay where they are if they ever get lost and get someone to contact you if possible.
If it’s uncomfortable, it’s a NO!
They should never be put in an uncomfortable situation. If they don’t feel safe or comfortable with someone or with their surroundings, they need to say no. Never force a child to hug or play with anyone either.
Bike safety tips
Going for a bike ride can be fun and great for their mental and physical health, but there are some key tips to keep in mind. Make sure you select the right bike for their body size; make sure they have comfortable shoes on — and that their laces are tied; put them in bright clothes if going on the road; make sure the bikes brakes are working before getting onto the bike; and never let children — even teenagers — ride alone in the streets.
Car safety tips
Whether your kids are strapped up in a car seat, or big enough to sit in front with their seatbelt on, make sure they understand the dangers of the road, and how important car safety is. Make sure they always fasten their seat belt before you pull off; make sure a car seat for an infant or toddler is in correctly; keep doors locked; and don’t let them hang their heads out of the window.
GOOD HEALTH IS VITAL!!!
Just like morals, good health comes from home.
Allergies or specific needs
Keep babysitters and teachers informed of any allergies or special needs your children may have. And make sure there is a first-aid kit on hand — and that they they know how to use it.
Fresh, pearly whites
Clean and cavity-free teeth is just as important as having those vaccinations done. Kids should brush their teeth twice a day, and floss after — this will help them remove leftover food and prevent bacteria from forming cavities. Always use a toothpaste with fluoride as it keeps the teeth harder and less likely to decay. Make sure your kids get regular check-ups at the dentist too, and teach them to snack on fruit instead of sugary snacks.
Make healthy food choices
Teaching your kids to eat healthy won’t only prevent them getting sick as often, but it will also improve their mood, behaviour, overall health and concentration levels. Make sure your kids have healthy snacks on hand — at home and at school — and choose healthier options, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice and low-fat yoghurt. And do’t forget to give them their five servings of fresh fruit and veggies a day!
Keep them hydrated
It’s vital — especially in summer — that they drink enough water to stay hydrated. make sure they take a water bottle to school and that they finish it daily.
Be good role models
Kids want to be just like Mom and Dad so make sure you’re leading a healthy lifestyle too. Don’t make drastic diet changes — in fact don’t even mention the word diet in front of them — and teach tach them the importance of good health, not society’s image of good bodies.
Make sure they eat breakfast
They need a healthy start to the day to help them function and keep their energy levels up — don’t let them skip this meal.
Keep them active
No, they don’t need to start training for the next 94.7 cycle challenge, but they can ride their bikes, play in the garden, do a sport. Make sure they get at least 20 minutes of exercise a day.
Too much screen time is bad for the eyes, the brain and the personality. Limit their time on iPads and give them some free time to watch TV before or after dinner, but don’t let them become couch potatoes. It will not only affect their health, but their behaviour, too.
Sport health tips
If your kids are into sports, make sure they understand the dangers involved. Sport is a great way to stay fit and make new friends — plus they learn all about teamwork, too — but there’re some health tips to consider. Make sure they’ve had their annual check-ups, make sure they wear the correct sporting gear; and are playing with kids of similar size and skill level. They must also know how to obey safety rules and respect equipment; stay hydrated before, during and after the activity and stop playing immediately if they get hurt!
Protection from the sun
While we all need some vitamin D, sun exposure can do harm. Make sure they never leave home without sunscreen on — and that includes the areas we usually forget about such as their feet, ears and back of legs. Also make sure they have a cap with them; and when not at school a good pair of protective sunglasses. When it comes to babies, avid exposure to direct sunlight as their skin is too delicate and will sunburn very easily.