Providing your children with a nutritious diet can help them grow up to be healthy adults. By making the right food choices at a young age, they can learn how to make healthier decisions later in life.
Proper nutrition is vital to supporting a child’s muscles and bones so they can move around without being cramped or tired. This is especially important in the growing years, when the body is at a particularly rapid growth phase and strong muscles are crucial for walking, talking and other daily activities. A balanced diet should include a variety of fruit and vegetables, starchy foods (bread, pasta, rice, cereals), legumes, nuts and seeds. A good mix of these foods will provide your children with the nutrients they need to grow, develop, and learn while keeping them healthy and happy along the way.
Helps Achieve And Maintain A Healthy Weight
Choosing nutrient-dense foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, helps children achieve and maintain a healthy weight. They also get the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly.
Keep fruit in the fridge to eat throughout the day. Encourage kids to eat healthy fats, such as vegetable oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds. Avoid fried foods, and rely on healthier cooking methods, such as grilling, roasting, broiling, or steaming. Limit salt intake by replacing butter, cooking margarine and cream with vegetable oils, spreads, nut butters or pastries, and using low-salt salad dressings.
Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D in the diet along with exercise and physical activity can help keep bones strong throughout childhood and adulthood. Dairy products are often promoted as the primary source of calcium, but other fruits and vegetables have been shown to improve bone density. Oranges, for example, are high in calcium and are an excellent source of potassium, which reduces the loss of calcium. Vegetables also contain Vitamin K, which stimulates bone formation.
Supports Brain Development
Healthy brain development starts during infancy and continues through childhood, affecting how well kids learn, pay attention, control impulses, anticipate, plan, and make decisions. Proper nutrition for children supports this critical process. In particular, adequate levels of certain nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc, folate, choline, omega-3 DHA and EPA and iodine have been shown to positively influence the developing brain12-14.
Boosts Immune System
When it comes to kids, the right diet plays a crucial role in building their immunity as it helps them fight off infections and disease. Children need to consume fresh fruit and vegetables every day, and they should also include poultry, meat, fish, whole grains, beans, and lentils in their diet. Nuts and seeds are another good source of protein. They should also avoid sugary foods like cakes, cookies, and packaged fruit juices. Too much sugar can suppress the immune system.
The difference between daycare and childcare is one of the most confusing things for many parents. But it’s also a crucial factor for picking the right type of care. Both types of care aim to provide children with a safe place for whole-child growth, including social emotional development, playful learning, physical activity and growing their communication skills. Daycare focuses on more routine care, such as feeding and napping. This can be helpful for parents who have to work during the day. It also provides childcare during the evening or on weekends when a preschool may be closed. However, this is not always ideal for a family who needs childcare more than once a week.
A child’s early social-emotional development is shaped in large part by the quality of the care they receive. This has been assessed in numerous ways–from infants’ self-regulatory behavior to their cooperation with and attachments to adults, their social skill (or lack of it) with other children, and the developmental level of their social interactions. For instance, NICHD Early Child Care Research Network studies of infants and toddlers have found that children who experience more positive caregiving have higher levels of maternal sensitivity (e.g., supportive presence, positive regard, and lack of intrusiveness or hostility) than children who do not. Similarly, higher quality childcare has been associated with advanced cognitive and language development in infants and toddlers enrolled in these arrangements.
As we know, socialization is the process of introducing people to norms, customs, and behaviors that are considered normal in a society. This process happens at various points throughout a person’s life and can take place both in the home and in school. One of the key differences between daycare and childcare centers is their focus on socialization, physical activity, and safety. Generally, daycares are less structured and offer more free-play time, while preschools tend to be more academically focused.
And while the care and supervision of children in a family childcare setting can be similar to that of an adult-staffed daycare center, it’s important to note that there are some key differences when it comes to safety. For starters, family childcare providers typically stay with a group of children for longer periods, giving them a deeper understanding of the child’s development and needs. This can help them anticipate risks and respond appropriately in emergency situations. This also means that parents and their children can feel more comfortable leaving their child at a family childcare facility, knowing that the center adheres to minimum safety protections. This can be a huge asset in a competitive childcare marketplace.
Even for religious or spiritually inclined folks, religion can be a touchy subject that is difficult to share with your kids. When you aren’t religious, discussing religion with your children can be even more challenging. Whether you are having a hard time starting the conversation about religion because of a lack of experience with religion or you want to teach your child how to speak respectfully in religious spaces, we have tips below that can help you talk to your child about spirituality and religion with ease and confidence.
Avoid treating God like cultural characters, such as the Tooth Fairy
While it’s common to tell our children about mythical characters such as the Tooth Fairy or Santa to make them excited for certain milestones or holidays, giving God the same treatment can have harmful effects on your child. Unlike white lies that children outgrow over time, how a child is taught about God can change how they see the world around them. As a result, it’s best to treat your child’s views and ideas about God seriously.
Help your child understand that everyone has an opinion
Whether your child starts believing in God or shares your atheistic views, it is essential to teach your child that people are entitled to their own opinions. If you can model this by speaking about other religions with a healthy amount of respect, even if you disagree, your child will be able to follow your example. If your child struggles to understand why some people believe things that your family does not, this can be a helpful point to make.
Prepare answers to common questions beforehand
Common questions such as “What is God?” and “Do we have to believe in god to be good people?” can be tough to answer on the spot. If you research beforehand and decide how to handle these questions, you’ll set yourself and your child up for a fruitful conversation.
Respect your child’s beliefs while setting limits as a parent
If your child expresses a desire to practice a religion, it can be overwhelming if you don’t have a personal religion or spirituality. In this situation, it is okay to respect your child’s beliefs while setting boundaries. If your child wants to attend church on Sundays but needs transportation, you can respect their exploration of new churches while setting limits on how much you can help with transportation. You can also set limits on how much you will spend in time, money, or energy on their belief system. For example, you can respect their love of a religion without dropping hundreds of dollars on idols or donations to a religious institution.
Relax and give your child space to explore
Although an atheist parent may feel confused or concerned about a child’s new beliefs, the truth is that beliefs can change over time. So relax, breathe, and continue supporting your child’s interests, religious or not.
Human beings are biologically social. Because our DNA has wired us this way, babies and young children must be connected socially in healthy and beneficial ways. The social structure of the family is crucial to early childhood development.
Humans are social animals, and social structure plays an important role in their development. The first social interaction that takes place in a baby’s life is with his family only, or his immediate family is the first social group that a child may interact with. So, what role does a family play in a child’s development? Let’s take a look at how family interaction affects child development.
Value systems are important in human development. Value systems provide young children with a road map to help them navigate interactions with others. Without value systems there would be no rules or regulations for human interactions and families and communities would not be safe or sustainable.
Young children start to learn their value systems from the family members they first interact with. As children grow older, they will start to learn value systems through other outlets, but during early childhood, the child will almost exclusively interact with only family members.
It is important that the family unit presents healthy values to young children that will aid them in interacting with others in a healthy and fair way.
Another important aspect of family interaction is the social development that children experience. Before children begin to interact with the larger world, they will first interact with their families.
During this interaction, children will learn about social development and important social concepts such as sharing, working together, helping, protecting, and more. This social interaction will help the child start to develop a secure identity in the world. When children know that they are loved and protected within their family unit, it encourages them to interact with the rest of the world from a place of confidence.
Many skills will develop during interaction with family. These types of skills include:
Home living skills
A child’s sense of security will start to develop within their family interactions in early childhood. Here is where a child will learn that they are loved, and cared for and that their needs will be met. A secure child will be able to form normal, healthy social connections with others. They will be able to better regulate their emotions and learn patience while waiting for their needs to be met.
Insecurity in children often leads to a host of developmental and behavioral problems. Insecure children feel the need to always defend themselves and to seek out ways to fulfill their own needs as quickly as possible because they are not assured that caregivers will meet their needs. This can lead to a range of issues throughout life.
Often when we think of learning activities for children, we primarily think of school and traditional school lessons. However, for very young children, playtime is also an important learning time. In fact, young children learn best through play. This is why play must be an integral part of childhood education. This quick guide will explore the benefits of play in childhood development and education.
Encourages Brain Development
Play can help children develop a better understanding of the world around them. Learning new skills through play lays a foundation for brain growth. When new skills are set in the context of playtime, a child’s brain can approach the task in a more relaxed way. When children are relaxed and engaged, their brains are better prepared to receive new information and make important connections. Research has also shown that neurons in the brains of babies and children are most active during play. Crucial brain cell connections can be made during this time.
A study by the University of Arkansas discovered that children who are given a wide variety of toys to play with regularly have high IQ levels. Interacting with toys and other children or adults through play also helps to develop a child’s social and communication skills.
One of the most beneficial aspects of play that can be visibly seen, though, is how playtime will spark a child’s natural creativity. When children are in a comfortable, relaxed play context, their minds open up to new possibilities. This is when a child’s imagination can grow, and problem-solving skills can develop. Presenting children with toys and games that present soft problem-solving opportunities is a great way to increase their divergent thinking and build their confidence.
Free Vs Structured Play
There are two types of play for children in their early childhood. Both types hold significant benefits for brain, social, and creative development.
Free play is playtime overseen by an adult or caregiver but not planned out or structured at all. The child or children are allowed to interact with toys, equipment, or supplies in any way they like.
Structured playtime is playtime that has been planned by a caregiver or educator. This playtime will have a specific objective in mind. For instance, a caregiver may instruct the child or children to use the toy kitchen to work together to create a meal and serve it to other children. Or a caregiver may present a child with several colored blocks and encourage them to divide the blocks according to color, shape or size.
Both types of play are necessary for early childhood education and brain development. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to use both types of play on a regular basis with young children.