10 healthy habits for healthy families
Washing hands is one of the best habits to encourage in your family. Wash hands with lots of soap and water before meals and after using the toilet or changing nappies. Here are ten other good habits to get into:
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Washing hands is one of the best habits to encourage in your family. Wash hands with lots of soap and water before meals and after using the toilet or changing nappies. Here are ten other good habits to get into:

  1. Exercise

    Exercise is essential to help babies and children develop healthy bodies and minds, as well as encouraging gross motor development.

    Create time during the day to exercise your baby’s muscles and joints and encourage older children to spend active time outdoors.

    A family walk a few times a week is a great way to get everyone into the fresh air and exercising. 

  2. Fresh fruit and vegetables

    Make sure your family eats a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, avoid processed food and cook and eat together as a family. 

  3. Gentle discipline

    Happy, secure children have firm limits and boundaries on their behaviour, as well as loads of love and laughter, so make sure that firm, gentle discipline is an integral part of your family life. 

  4. Good dental hygiene

    Good dental hygiene should start as soon as baby starts teething. Clean baby’s teeth gently with a soft brush and suitable fluoride toothpaste. Speak to your dentist or doctor about fluoride supplementation. Regular dental check-ups should start from about 2 years old. 

  5. Regular check-ups

    Take your child to the doctor or paediatrician for regular developmental check-ups and consult your doctor when your child is ill.

    Know the emergency contact details of your doctor, the ambulance and the nearest casualty/emergency room. As your child gets older, include a visit to the optician as part of his check-ups.

  6. Support systems for parents

    Support systems are vital to keep families running smoothly – moms can’t do it all alone. Create your own support system of friends, family and service providers to help when needed, and accept help when you need a break. 

  7. Vitamins

    Formula-fed babies don’t need supplements as formulas are vitamin-enriched. After 12 months, vitamins are usually only necessary for children with poor appetites.

    Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers need to ensure that their own vitamin needs are met.

    Vitamins and minerals are important in your family’s diet. Exclusively breastfed babies should have an iron supplement from 4 months and a vitamin supplement from 6 months.

  8. Immunisation

    Immunisation has prevented more death and disability than any other medical intervention. Be sure to follow the official vaccination schedule and use the opportunity to chat with the clinic sister about any concerns you might have. 

  9. Healthy eating habits

    From the time your baby starts solids it is a good idea to feed him in a feeding chair pulled up to a table. Encourage healthy eating habits and warm family times from the start. 

  10. Sleep

    Make sure the whole family gets enough sleep. Establish good bedtime routines and limit stimulation around bedtime and during the night.

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