What we do today will shape our tomorrow–a great motto to live by, and one to consider particularly when it comes to the caring and nurturing of children. With this in mind, how can we ensure that the next generation are receiving the best possible start in life?
It begins with getting the basics right-and it’s as easy as ABC.
A = Activity
Physical activity is extremely important for all of us, but particularly in the development of children. We all know how easy it can be to become engrossed in watching TV, playing games on apps or browsing online – all from the comfort of your sofa or bed.
But just an hour of exercise a day can go a long way to improving strength, increasing fitness and keeping hearts in good health.
Children love to emulate grown-ups, so encourage them to form healthy habits by making exercise fun. Try a nature walk with a ‘treasure’ map, a day out cycling with friends, and encourage them to join in with school sports activities.
B = Balanced Diet
According to a recent NHS Health Survey for England, 28% of children aged 2-15 are classed as overweight or obese. This figure is predicted to rise unless we do something about it as a nation.
Children need the right nutrition in order to function and grow properly. Too much junk food can lead to sapped energy levels and excess body fat, whilst the lack of nutrients and vitamins can result in deficiency.
Encourage them to make healthy choices. Teach them that food is fuel and a fresh homemade sandwich is better than a greasy burger.
C = Cognitive Development
Just as it is vital to feed our bodies with the right nutrition and exercise, it is important to feed our minds too. In childhood our ability to learn is at a peak, with our brains processing things at an alarming rate. Did you know from birth up to the age of three is the fastest rate of brain development across the entire human life span?
Make sure children are exposed to lots of social interaction: this helps ensure good emotional development, encouraging them to form healthy relationships as they prepare for adult life.
Lots of ‘sensory’ play using colours, distinctive textures and sounds, can also help aid cognitive development. Encourage children to be curious and ask lots of questions – and welcome their ideas and approaches to problem-solving.