- Sugar intake
- Nutrient content of food
- Water intake
- Level of activity
Let's break each area down further:
How long does your child sleep each 24 hour day? Is your child getting enough? Toddlers need 13 hrs/24 hrs, 3-5yrs need 12 hours, 6-13yrs need 10 hours minimum. If your child is struggling with his/her health, becoming run-down or emotionally battling with peer or family woes, then they will need more sleep than that recommended.
Sleep is the period of time where the nervous system switches organs and muscles from alert and working to repair and growth. Without this your child won't have their night's quota of chemicals and nutrients to face the next day.
How much technology does your child see each day and when do they do this? This is harder to limit in school age kids when tech is used so much in school now but place time restrictions on school-kids usage to only what’s needed for schoolwork. Otherwise completely cut out TV and iPad watching as an experiment in your pre-schooler and observe amazing behavioural changes (after you’ve allowed a week or so for the addiction/tantrums to subside).
World Health Organisation limits children’s daily sugar intake to less than 5 tsp (20g) daily. Start by limiting drinks to just plain water. Take all packaged food out of their lunch boxes, use leftovers and fruit / veggies instead. Change their breakfast food… anything from the breakfast aisle of the supermarket will push their sugar consumption over their daily allowance every time. Use eggs, bacon, whole-oats, fruit and veggies instead. Check out our other blogs for ideas.
Does your child's daily food consumption contain nutritional value? Every meal of a child must have good fats, protein and vegetables in it. They are growing so fast and anything you let them swallow will become a part of them. Do you think that bread, weet bix and sugary cereal is going to boost their brain or bone growth more? Or an avocado, carrot and handful of nuts?
Make sure your child is drinking at least 1.2L of plain water if under 8yoa, 1.5L if under 13, and 2L plus if over 13. Even mild dehydration causes a reduction in mental performance and concentration, so get 2 glasses into them before they walk out the door in the morning.
If a child doesn’t get exposed to sun, light and good oxygen during the day, then their natural body clock doesn’t set correctly. Outdoor play or formal exercise / sport is so important for growing children. It improves oxygen and nutrient circulation, builds bone and muscle strength, increases their energy capacity and allows them to release any emotional stresses accumulated during the day… to name only a few.