hopefully, will prevent obesity and
chronic diseases. It is well known that
dietary habits formed in early childhood
tend to stick.
Breakfast is an important meal, and
skipping it can decrease attention,
reduce energy and lead to poor brain
Also serve plenty of emotional food.
Serve and return interactions, such as
cooing, talking, singing and reading, are
essential to emotional, social, cognitive
and physical development. And
comforting a crying infant helps him to
Play is exercise for infants and
toddlers. Tummy time is excellent for
infants and babies. As children get older
they can partake in dancing, biking,
swimming and other activities on a
regular basis. When a child’s physical
development is stimulated through play
he will have greater brain capacity as
the body and brain work together. Thus
nurture interacts with nature.
At any age, hand hygiene is a
powerful tool. Handwashing before
and after eating and after using the
bathroom, touching family pets or being
outside is the first line of defence against
Keep a growth chart showing age,
height and weight. And don’t forget to
have your baby vaccinated for diseases
such as diphtheria, measles, whooping
cough and polio.
Other advice: have your child’s eyes
examined around six months of age
and again around two years of age to
check for vision, lazy eye (amblyopia),
misalignment of eyes (strabismus) and
other eye diseases.
For good oral health care, have your
child see a dentist around her first
birthday. And make brushing twice a day
a regular routine.
Finally, a smoke–free environment is
good for everyone in your family.
It takes a village to raise a child, but by
taking personal responsibility, you can
help your child be and stay healthy.
It is your choice whether you act on
this advice or not. Choose well.
Nelson Mandela said,
“Let us take care of the children for they
have a long way to go.”
Preparing for a healthy child can
begin before pregnancy. Taking folic
acid before and during pregnancy
reduces risk of neural tube defects in
newborns. Not consuming alcohol is
also prudent. (See Plan for a Healthy
Pregnancy Before Conception in the
Apple’s fall 2011 issue).
Eating healthy food is essential, both
while pregnant and after your baby
arrives. Eating Well with Canada’s Food
Guide offers advice on serving sizes
and food groups (visit hc– sc.gc.ca for
Once your baby arrives, breast milk
will help her resist infection. Breast
fed babies are also less likely to be
Drinking milk daily will build
healthy bones. Eating fresh fruits and
vegetables, dry nuts such as almonds
and walnuts will provide antioxidants,
and foods with omega– 3 fatty acids
boost brain development. Drinking
water instead of sugary soda and
beverages will instil a good habit that,