Children and lifestyles: good habits to learn as children

A healthy lifestyle is the fundamental prerequisite for a healthy life. It is therefore important to learn some good daily habits from childhood. This is what the experts of the Istituto Gesù Gesù underline who have developed a series of useful tips for parents.


Five well-balanced meals a day

At breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, it is important that all the nutrients are in the dish of the little ones: carbohydrates, fiber, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, to be combined in a variable percentage according to the times of the day.


It is recommended to choose different, fresh and seasonal foods, strongly limiting the consumption of snacks, real “sugar and calorie bombs”. To quench your thirst for water or homemade juices without adding sugar or sweeteners.


It is good to remember that the moment of the meal is an important educational and social occasion for which the offer of food should be accompanied by adequate care. This means, for example, not leaving the child alone and removing the feeling of anxiety of not feeding your child enough.


If during the growth some periods of loss of appetite are physiological, it is important, however, to pay attention to the persistent refusal of food and drink, to the weight loss and to the presence of associated symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and tiredness. In this case it is good to contact an expert.


The sleep

In the first months of life, the little ones have a sleep-wake rhythm very different from that of adults: it is independent of the environment, of the alternation of light and dark and is regulated above all by basic needs such as hunger and thirst. After 4 months the baby gradually adapts to the external rhythms. This is the time to establish regular habits that help him concentrate sleep at night.


There are some mistakes to avoid in order not to compromise normal sleep development such as putting the baby to bed already asleep. It is also important to make him fall asleep in his room, in the cot and not in his arms. Before sleeping, it is good to avoid games that are too stimulating and prefer relaxing activities such as reading a fairy tale and creating a ritual for falling asleep, to be repeated every evening.


Read before bed to grow well

Reading is fundamental for the development of children. The infant is attracted by the rhythm of the parent’s voice and the musicality of a story read aloud is able to enchant even the little ones.


Crouching together and reading greatly strengthens the bond between parents and children. Furthermore, a child accustomed to listening to readings will develop language more readily, will be more curious, eager to learn to read and will have better attention spans because he is used to listening.

The advice for parents is therefore to read a lot together with their children: reading is a much more effective activity than watching an animated story on a digital device or listening to an audio version.


At school? You go on foot!

To avoid sedentary lifestyle and excess weight it is good to walk daily, 30 minutes a day are enough to have important benefits: increased muscle tone, positive cardiovascular conditioning, calorie consumption.


Going to school on foot could also be a good habit to socialize, develop self-esteem, contribute to a healthy psychological balance and learn road education. For those who go to school by bus it would be enough to get off a couple of stops earlier.


Video games with caution

Some scientific research shows that the use of video games, especially action games, can improve attention and visual processing skills, spatial and visual working memory, with possible benefits on particular conditions such as dyslexia. However, it has also been shown that excessive use of video games or electronic tools can induce real forms of addiction, with possible “abstinence” behaviors if the child is deprived of them.


Although these tools should not be demonized, caution is advised: no earlier than 6 years of age, for no more than 30-60 minutes a day, and always under the direct supervision of parents.


Teenagers and cigarettes

Adolescence is a critical step in a person’s life and smoking could play a facilitating role in the inclusion of peers in the group, a sort of initiation rite. Cigarette smoke, even electronic smoke, always has very harmful effects on health.


The suggestion for parents is not to judge or reprimand the boy, but to listen and understand if it is a gesture to emulate the companions or a request for help or self-treatment to alleviate an inconvenience. Later it will be appropriate to seek alternative strategies together that allow you to experience a feeling of well-being, also making use of specialists. It is also good to remember that to be listened to it is necessary to set a good example.


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