Health Sleep | Healthy Teeth | Healthy Eating and Drinking | Health Play and Exercise
Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development, learning and growth. By the age of two, most children have spent more time asleep than awake and overall, a child will spend 40% of his or her childhood asleep!
Toddlers need about 11-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. When they reach about 18 months of age their naptimes will decrease to once a day lasting about one to three hours.
Download 'The Good Night Guide for Children'
A poor diet can affect your baby's teeth. Begin to brush baby's teeth twice a day every day as soon as they appear. Use a small smear of toothpaste that contains fluoride. Tooth decay is totally preventable.
Tips for healthy teeth:
For more information, check out the Childsmile website.
Show your children the cartoon on effective tooth brushing, click here.
Download the brush DJ app, click here
Click here to view Healthier Together's dental hygiene page
Preventing and managing weight problems isn't just about diet - it is also about behaviour around eating. Children - especially toddler - need clear boundaries. Don't let all those good eating habits disappear as your baby gets older. These are some tips for enjoying food and preventing problems:
Click here to download the Healthy Infant Feeding Booklet where this information was extracted from.
It's just as important to make sure the lunchbox your child takes to nursery or preschool provides a healthy and balanced lunch. This means plenty of good quality foods from the 5 food groups, with few 'processed' or packaged or ready-made foods (as these usually contains fewer good nutrients and often more salt and sugar).
A balanced packed lunch should contain:
Children often like food they can eat with their fingers, so chop up raw veggies such as carrots or peppers and give them hummus or cottage cheese to dip the veggies in. Breadsticks and wholemeal crackers are great finger foods that can be paired with cheese pieces.
Replace chocolate bars and cakes with fresh fruit. Vary the fruit each day and get them to try new things, such as kiwi or melon. You could also make up a tasty fruit salad. Be inventive and encourage your children when they try something new. Some good ideas can be found here
Note that dried fruit is no longer recommended as a between meal snack as it's high in sugar, and can be bad for teeth.
How much sugar should children be eating?
An example of the sugar content of common lunchbox items includes:
This calculated together is 5.5 teaspoons of sugar in a standard lunchbox, meaning in one meal, a child under 4yrs, will have exceeded their daily intake by 1.5 teaspoons.
Click here for more information from Change4Life
Toddlers learn eagerly and most want to try new activities. Encouraging your toddler to keep physically active will help him/her to:
All activities such as active play inside or outside, walking, running and dancing counts.
Limit TV and other screen time like computers to just one hour a day.
Be patient; some toddlers take longer than others to learn new skills. Some are better co-ordinated than others. Keep gently encouraging, make it fun and give lots of praise.
Child-led play means following your child’s lead in play. It means watching your child and responding to what your child says or does to keep their attention focused a little bit longer and experience that you are interested in them and find joy in them.
Following your child’s lead is good because your child learns best when they’re interested in an activity. When your child leads, they build communication skills, learn about the world around them and how to influence things around them. Do child lead play for a specific time as part of your daily routine.
What you need for child-led play
All you need for child-led play is whatever your child is interested in at the time. This might be a toy or something in the environment, like a bird or a fire truck. It might even be you and the funny faces and sounds you’re making together.
Follow their lead
Wait and watch
Play a supporting role
Messy play: Getting used to putting their hands in different textures can help toddlers who are fussy about their food.
Pretend play: When toddlers play with toys and other objects and pretend they are people, they are learning about the world around them.
Fun activities for indoors or outdoors
Physically active toddlers should be in a safe environment and supervised at all times.
For more information on physical activity for children under 5yrs, click here