When you’re a new parent, figuring out how to best care for your child can be something of a challenge. There’s so much information out there that you may not have a clue where to start. With that in mind, it’s worth understanding the basics of toddler health care before you do anything else. Don’t miss these 6 quick tips:
Six Tips to Take Care of your Toddler
1. Make Sure You’re Well-Equipped
Of course, the last thing that you want to happen is for your child to fall sick. However, small children are prone to picking up germs and bacteria. Since their immune system is new, they may lack the antibodies to fight off illnesses that come their way.
That’s why you need to make sure you’re well-equipped to deal with sickness should it arise. Investing in a first aid kit, a thermometer, and over-the-counter children’s medication is the first port of call. Remember, being prepared is the best way to care for your child.
2. Protect Against Sun and Heat Damage
You may already understand that UV rays are harmful to your skin, but have you ever thought about the effect that they have on your child? Should the heat start to rise during the summer months, you need to do everything that you can to protect your little one. Research has shown that heat waves can be extremely dangerous for young children. Luckily, there are a couple of things you can do to help.
There are a few ways in which you can help protect your child from the heat including taking them to the pool on hot days, keeping them hydrated with water and low-sugar sports drinks, and applying high SPF sunscreen regularly when outside.
3. Create a Healthy Sleep Routine
You should never underestimate the importance of choosing an appropriate bedtime for your toddler. When children are young, sleep is vital to their mental and physical development. You need to ensure that your little one gets as much quality sleep as possible on a night by night basis. Creating a routine with a consistent bedtime and rituals like reading a bedtime story can help.
So, what is the best time to send your toddler to bed? Well, one theory is that you can align your child’s bedtime with the onset of melatonin, the hormone that is released before they are naturally ready to sleep. Research from the University of Colorado at Boulder found that the average time that this hormone was released in small children was 7.40pm. Choosing a regular bedtime around this time could help your child get a great night’s rest.
4. Limit Their TV Time
Many parents think nothing of letting their toddler sit in front of the TV for a few hours each day, but could it be causing them harm? According to research published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the amount of time that your toddler spends in front of the TV can have a wealth of negative effects.
Some of the most surprising results included a decrease in classroom engagement, a decrease in weekend activity, and an increase in their BMI. All of the above are dangerous to your child’s health. Limiting the time that your toddler spends in front of the TV is the best way forward. Create a routine that means they have less screen-time and more time outside instead.
5. Avoid Smoking Around Them
Secondhand smoke is a killer. You probably already know that, but did you know that smoking around your toddler can have awful consequences? Research from the American Heart Association has found that cardiovascular diseases often form silently in childhood.
The fact of the matter is when you smoke around your child, you’re affecting both their respiratory system and their cardiovascular system as well. If you are a regular smoker, it’s worth making sure that you create boundaries in your home. Don’t make the mistake of smoking around your child. Go outside and make sure that they are not able to inhale the fumes.
6. Feed Them Healthy, Home-Cooked Meals
You may think that there’s nothing wrong with pre-packed meals and snacks now and then, but there could well be. A recent study from the American Heart Association found that 75% of ready-made meals for children are high in sodium. That in itself could have a seriously detrimental impact on the integrity of your child’s cardiovascular system and organs.
The key to ensuring your toddler has good health is by cooking whole foods for them as much as possible at home. Feeding your child a healthy, balanced diet will encourage optimal growth and development. It may help to create a weekly meal plan so that you always know what you’re going to be cooking on a daily basis.